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object:Sri Ramakrishna
object:Ramakrishna
influenced:Swami Vivekananda, Swami Brahmananda, Swami Premananda, Swami Yogananda, Swami Niranjanananda (The Senior), Swami Saradananda, Swami Shivananda, Swami Ramakrishnananda, Swami Turiyananda, Swami Abhedananda, Swami Adbhutananda, Swami Advaitananda, Swami Nirmalananda, Swami Akhandananda, Swami Trigunatitananda, Swami Subodhananda, Swami Vijnanananda
influenced:Rabindranath Tagore, Max Mller, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sri Aurobindo, Leo Tolstoy, Franz Dvorak, Philip Glass.

--- WIKI
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (18 February 1836 16 August 1886, born Ramakrishna "Gadadhar" Chattopadhyay, was an Indian Hindu mystic, philosopher, saint and considered as an avatar by many in 19th century Bengal. Sri Ramakrishna experienced spiritual ecstasies from a young age, and was influenced by several religious traditions, including devotion toward the Goddess Kali, Tantra (shakta), Vaishnava (bhakti), and Advaita Vedanta. As a priest at the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, his mystical temperament and ecstasies gradually gained him widespread acknowledgement, attracting to him various spiritual teachers, social leaders, lay followers and eventually disciples. Reverence and admiration for him among Bengali elites led to his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda founding the Ramakrishna Math, which provides spiritual training for monastics and householder devotees and the Ramakrishna Mission to provide charity, social work and education.

--- PARTIAL BIBLIOGRAPHY
  Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
  Tales and Parables of Sri Ramakrishna
  Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna
  Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  Thoughts of Peace and Holiness
  The Learned Pandit
  Ramakrishna : A Biography in Pictures
  Karma-Yoga
  His Words: The Preachings and Parables of Sri Ramkrishna Paramahansa


--- FOOTER
subject class:Hinduism
subject class:Hinduism
subject:Philosophy
class:author
subject class:Philosophy
class:Mysticism
class:Saint
class:Avatar



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--- OBJECT INSTANCES [0]


Gospel_of_Sri_Ramakrishna
Gospel_of_Sri_Ramakrishna_preface
Sayings_of_Sri_Ramakrishna
Sayings_of_Sri_Ramakrishna_(text)
Sayings_of_Sri_Ramakrishna_(toc)
Sri_Ramakrishna_(quotes)

--- PRIMARY CLASS


author
Avatar
Mysticism
quotes
Saint

--- SEE ALSO


--- SIMILAR TITLES [0]


Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna preface
Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna (text)
Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna (toc)
Sri Ramakrishna
Sri Ramakrishna (quotes)

--- DICTIONARIES (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



--- QUOTES [1000 / 1000 - 500 / 500] (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



KEYS (10k)

  139 Sri Ramakrishna
   1 Sri Ramakrishna?
   1 M Alan Kazlev

NEW FULL DB (2.4M)

  484 Sri Ramakrishna
   5 Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi
   3 Swami Vivekananda
   2 Sri Ramakrishnan
   2 Frederick Lenz

1:Great men have the nature of a child. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
2:Alone the sage can recognize the sage. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
3:It is all He, only in different forms. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
4:You would succeed if you were sincere. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
5:Do yourself what you wish others to do. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
6:The soul bound is man; free, it is God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
7:Man suffers through lack of faith in God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
8:What you wish others to do, do yourselves. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
9:If you surrender to the Lord and call on Him with a heart full of yearning, He is bound to listen and take care of everything for you. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
10:Surrender everything at His feet and give Him the general power of attorney. Let Him do what He considers best for you. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
11:Call with Bhakti upon His Hallowed Name and the mountain of your sins shall disappear as a mountain of cotton-wool will vanish in an instant if it catches one spark of fire. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
12:However much one may have studied books, it is all futile unless one has love and devotion for God, unless one has the desire to realize Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
13:Once a person has faith, he has achieved everything. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
14:True knowledge leads to unity, ignorance to diversity. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
15:Cultivate love and devotion for God and so pass your days. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
16:Verily, I say to thee; he who seeks the Eternal, finds Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
17:Man is divine so long as he is in communion with the Eternal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
18:All the gods and goddesses are only varied aspects of the One. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
19:The world is impermanent. One should constantly remember death. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
20:The world is not impermanent if one lives there after knowing God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
21:Weep for God, and the tears will wash away the dirt from your mind. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
22:Who is whose Guru? God alone is the guide and Guru of the universe. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
23:Finish the few duties you have at hand, and then you will have peace. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
24:Whoever wants God intensely, finds Him. Go and verify it in your own life. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
25:Pray to Him anyway you like, He can even hear the footfall of an ant. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
26:The greater his aspiration and concentration, the more he finds the Eternal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
27:If you live one sixth of what is taught you, you will surely attain the goal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
28:All this has been revealed to Me. I do not know much about what your books say. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
29:God is fond of His devotees. He runs after the devotee as the cow after the calf. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
30:The company of saints and sages is one of the chief agents of spiritual progress. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
31:If a devotee prays to God with real longing, God cannot help revealing Himself to him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
32:One must be very particular about telling the truth. Through truth one can realize God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
33:Do not seek illumination unless you seek it as a man whose hair is on fire seeks a pond. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
34:One cannot have the vision of God as long as one has these three- shame, hatred, and fear. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
35:When the Sun of Knowledge rises, the ice melts; it becomes the same water it was before. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
36:The knowledge which purifies the intelligence is true knowledge. All the rest is ignorance. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
37:One who thinks that his spiritual guide is merely a man, can draw no profit from his contact. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
38:The depth of the heart, the retired corner, and the forest are the three places for meditation. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
39:Intense cold freezes the water into ice, which floats on the ocean in blocks of various forms. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
40:One should constantly repeat the name of God. The name of God is highly effective in the Kaliyuga. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
41:Everyone is going toward God. They will all realize Him if they have sincerity and longing of heart. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
42:Many are the names of God and infinite the forms through which He may be approached. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
43:His name is conscious spirit, His abode is conscious spirit and He, the Lord, is all conscious spirit. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
44:The breeze of grace is always blowing on you. You have to open the sails and your boat will move forward. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
45:All I want to tell you is this. Follow both; perform your duties in the world and also cultivate love of God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
46:Many good sayings are to be found in holy books, but merely reading them will not make one religious. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
47:Longing is like the rosy dawn. After the dawn out comes the sun. Longing is followed by the vision of God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
48:That knowledge which purifies the mind and heart alone is true Knowledge, all else is only a negation of Knowledge. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
49:If you are keen on realising God, repeat His name with firm faith, and try to discriminate the Real from the unreal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
50:There are people who spout verses from the Scriptures and talk big, but in their conduct they are quite different. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
51:Meditate on the Eternal either in an unknown nook or in the solitude of the forests or in the solitude of thy own mind. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
52:To fix the mind on God is very difficult, in the beginning, unless one practices meditation in solitude. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
53:Once the mind has been trained to fix itself on formed images, it can easily accustom itself to fix on formless realities. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
54:By repeating with grit and determination 'I am not bound I am Free' one really becomes so - one really becomes free. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
55:If you meditate on your ideal, you will acquire its nature. If you think of God day and night, you will acquire the nature of God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
56:One attains God through japa. By repeating the name of God secretly and in solitude one receives divine grace. Then comes His vision. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
57:You veil your eyes and complain that you cannot see the Eternal. If you wish to see Him, tear from your eyes the veil of the illusion. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
58:Unless the soul is pure, it cannot have genuine love of God and single-minded devotion to the ideal. The mind wanders away to various objects. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
59:What offering should be made that we may attain to the Eternal? To find the Eternal thou must offer him thy body, thy mind and all thy possessions. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
60:A boat can be in the water, but the water ought not to be in the boat. So the aspirant may live in the world, but the world should find no place in him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
61:This is the one thing needful, the chanting of God's name. All else is unreal. Love and devotion alone are real, and other things are of no consequence. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
62:At a certain stage in the path of devotion the religious man finds satisfaction in the Divinity with a form, at another stage in the formless Impersonal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
63:God, before He comes to the heart, sends servants to make it ready for His coming. And who are those servants? Purity, chastity, humility, loving-kindness. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
64:The knowledge of the Eternal and the love of the Eternal are in the end one and the same thing. There is no difference between pure knowledge and pure love. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
65:To control the mind the best and easiest method is to repeat constantly God's Name. Concentration is attained by fixing the attention on the sound of the Name. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
66:If you spent one-tenth of the time you devoted to distractions like chasing women or making money to spiritual practice, you would be enlightened in a few years. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
67:How dare you talk of helping the world? God alone can do that. First you must be made free from all sense of self; then the Divine Mother will give you a task to do. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
68:Always keep your mind spotless. Don't allow impure thoughts to enter it. If you find such desires tormenting you, pray to God and chant His name. He will protect you. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
69:Bhakti is to keep the mind on God by chanting His name and glories ... Bhakti, love of God, is the essence of all spiritual discipline. Through love one acquires renunciation and discrimination naturally. ~ Sri Ramakrishna, The Gospel of Ramakrishna ,
70:The Eternal is seen when the mind is at rest. When the sea of the mind is troubled by the winds of desire, it cannot reflect the Eternal and all divine vision is impossible ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
71:There is one thing you should remember. When a boy walks holding his father's hand, he may fall into the gutter; but what has he to fear if the father holds him by the hand? ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
72:Make your meditation a continuous state of mind. A great worship is going on all the time, so nothing should be neglected or excluded from your constant meditative awareness. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
73:Ordinary men pronounce a sackful of discourses on religion, but do not put a grain into practice, while the sage speaks little, but his whole life is religion put in to action ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
74:A truly religious man ought to think that the other religions are also paths leading towards the Reality. We should always maintain an attitude of respect towards other religions. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
75:Knowledge leads to unity, but ignorance to diversity. So long as God seems to be outside and far away, there is ignorance. But when God is realised within, that is true knowledge. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
76:Wisdom leads to Unity, but Ignorance to Separation. So long as God seems to be outside and far away, there is ignorance. But when God is realized Within, that is True Knowledge. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
77:It is on account of the ego that one is not able to see God. In front of the door of God's mansion lies the stump of ego. One cannot enter the mansion without jumping over the stump. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
78:All the sacred Scriptures of the world have become corrupted, but the Ineffable or Absolute has never been corrupted, because no one has ever been able to express It in human speech. ~ Sri Ramakrishna?,
79:Those who wish to attain God and progress in religious devotion, should particularly guard themselves against the snares of lust and wealth. Otherwise they can never attain perfection. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
80:Bow down and adore where others bend the knee; for where so great a number of men pay the tribute of their adoration, the Impersonal must needs manifest Himself, for He is all compassion. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
81:As the darkness of centuries is scattered when the light is brought into a chamber, so the accumulated faults of numberless births vanish before a single shaft of the light of the Almighty. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
82:Whosoever can cry to the All-Powerful with sincerity and an intense passion of the soul has no need of a Master. But so profound an aspiration is very rare; hence the necessity of a Master. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
83:Do you meditate? Do you know what one feels in meditation? The mind becomes like a continuous flow of oil — it thinks of one object only, and that is God. It does not think of anything else. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
84:When by a constant practice a man is capable of effecting mental concentration, then wherever he may be, his mind will always lift itself above his surroundings and will repose in the Eternal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
85:God sports in the world as man. He incarnates Himself as man -- as in the case of Krishna, Rama, and Chaitanya. One needs spiritual practice in order to know God and recognize Divine Incarnations. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
86:He who seeks God with a longing heart can see Him, talk to Him as I am talking to you. Believe my words when I say that God can be seen. But ah! To whom am I saying these words? Who will believe me? ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
87:One who during his contemplation is entirely inconscient of all external things to such a point that if birds made a nest in his hair he would not know it, has acquired the perfection of meditation. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
88:One who during his contemplation is entirely inconscient of all external things to such a point that if birds made a nest in his hair he would not know it, has acquired the perfection of meditation. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
89:Many are the names of God and infinite are the forms through which He may be approached. In whatever name and form you worship Him, through them you will realise Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna, Sayings of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa ,
90:Do you know my attitude? Books, scriptures, and things like that only point out the way to reach God. After finding the way, what more need is there of books and scriptures? Then comes the time for action. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
91:As one can go up to the top of a house by means of a ladder, a bamboo or a flight of stairs, so are there various means for approaching the Eternal and each religion in the world shows only one of such means. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
92:Right discrimination is of two kinds analytical and synthetical. The first leads one from the phenomena to the Absolute Brahman, while by the second one knows how the Absolute Brahman appears as the universe. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
93:The magnetic needle always points to the north, and hence it is that sailing vessel does not lose her direction. So long as the heart of man is directed towards God, he cannot be lost in the ocean of worldliness. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
94:One should know a little of everything. If a man starts a grocery-shop, he keeps all kinds of articles there, including a little lentil and tamarind. An expert musician knows how to play a little on all instruments. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
95:The truth is that you cannot attain God if you have even a trace of desire. Subtle is the way of dharma. If you are trying to thread a needle, you will not succeed if the thread has even a slight fiber sticking out. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
96:He, who is a devotee of God, must have an understanding, that cannot be shaken under any conditions. He must be like the anvil in a blacksmith's shop. It is constantly being struck by the hammer; still it is unshaken. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
97:"I must attain God in this very life; yea, in three days I must find Him; nay, with a single utterance of His name I will draw Him to me" - with such violent Love the devotee can attract the Lord and realize Him quickly. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
98:God can be realized through all paths, it is like your coming to Dakshineswar by carriage, by boat, by steamer, or on foot. You have chosen the way according to your convenience and taste; but the destination is the same. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
99:A man can reach God if he follows one path rightly. Then he can learn about all the other paths. A devotee can know everything when God's grace descends on him. If you but realize Him, you will be able to know all about Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
100:One cannot completely get rid of the six passions: lust, anger, greed, and the like. Therefore one should direct them to God. If you must have desire and greed, then you should desire love of God and be greedy to attain Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
101:He who leads the life of a householder should devote fifteen parts of his mind to God; otherwise he will face ruin and fall into the clutches of Death. He should perform the duties of the world with only one part of his mind. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
102:If a person feels intoxicated with God’s love, there is no father, no mother, and no wife for him. He may have so much love for the Lord that he may appear to be mad! Such a person has no duties. He is freed from all his debts. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
103:Numerous are the names of the Ineffable and infinite the forms which lead towards Him. Under whatever name or in whatever form you desire to enter into relation with him, it is in that form and under that name that you will see Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
104:You see many stars in the sky at night, but not when the sun rises. Can you therefore say that there are no stars in the heavens during the day? Because you cannot find God in the days of your ignorance, say not that there is no God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
105:So long as one has not become-as simple as a child, one cannot expect the divine illumination. Forget all the knowledge of the world that you have acquired and become as ignorant as a child; then you shall attain to the divine wisdom. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
106:All will surely realize God. All will be liberated. It may be that some get their meal in the morning, some at noon, and some in the evening; but none will go without food. All, without any exception, will certainly know their real Self. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
107:When the water of the fetid pool and the glorious Ganges shall appear to thy eyes as one, when the Sound of the flute and the clamour of this crowd shall have no longer any difference to thy ear, then shalt thou attain to the divine Wisdom, ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
108:"To him who is perfect in meditation salvation is near" is an old saying. Do you know when a man is perfect in meditation? When as soon as he sits to meditate, he is surrounded with the divine atmosphere and his soul communes with the Ineffable. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
109:All doubts disappear when one sees God. It is one thing to hear of God, but quite a different thing to see Him. A man cannot have one hundred per cent conviction through mere hearing. But if he beholds God face to face, then he is wholly convinced. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
110:A man thinks of God, no doubt, but he has no faith in Him. Again and again he forgets God and becomes attached to the world. It is like giving the elephant a bath; afterwards he covers his body with mud and dirt again. 'The mind is a mad elephant.' ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
111:You see many stars in the sky at night, but not when the sun rises. Can you therefore say that there are no stars in the heavens during the day? Because you cannot find God in the days of your ignorance, say not that there is no God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna, Sayings of Ramakrishna ,
112:Pray to God with a longing heart. He will surely listen to your prayer if it is sincere. Perhaps He will direct you to holy men with whom you can keep company; and that will help you on your spiritual path. Perhaps someone will tell you, 'Do this and you will attain God.' ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
113:God can be realized through all paths. All religions are true. The important thing is to reach the roof. You can reach it by stone stairs or by wooden stairs or by bamboo steps or by a rope. You can also climb up by a bamboo pole. ~ Sri Ramakrishna, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna [Gupta,
114:The ordinary man says in his ignorance "My religion is the sole religion, my religion is the best." But when his heart is illumined by the true knowledge, he knows that beyond all the battles of sects and of sectaries presides the one, indivisible, eternal and omniscient Benediction. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
115:Having attained to that unalterable calm which nothing can trouble one can afterwards meditate and form an assured judgment on the essence of things; when one has meditated and formed a sure judgment on the essence of things, afterwards one can attain to the desired state of perfection. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
116:As for myself, I look upon all women as my Mother. This is a very pure attitude of mind. There is no risk or danger in it. To look upon a woman as one's sister is also not bad. But the other attitudes are very difficult and dangerous. It is almost impossible to keep to the purity of the ideal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
117:The devotee who has seen the One in only one of his aspects, knows Him in that aspect alone. But he who has seen Him in numerous aspects is alone in a position to say; "All these forms are those of the One and the One is multiform." He is without form and in form, and numberless are His forms which we do not know. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
118:A DEVOTEE: "Sir, how can one see God?"MASTER: "Can you ever see God if you do not direct your whole mind toward Him? The Bhagavata speaks about Sukadeva. When he walked about he looked like a soldier with fixed bayonet. His gaze did not wander; it had only one goal and that was God. This is the meaning of yoga. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
119:A man develops a subtle power as a result of the strict observance of celibacy for twelve years. Then he can understand and grasp very subtle things which otherwise elude his intellect. Through that understanding the aspirant can have direct vision of God. That pure understanding alone enables him to realize Truth. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
120:Only two kinds of people can attain "Self-Knowledge": those who are not encumbered at all with learning, that is to say, whose minds are not over-crowded with thoughts borrowed from others; and those who, after studying all the scriptures and sciences, have come to realize that they know nothing. ~ Sri Ramakrishna, Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna. ,
121:God has made different religions to suit different aspirants, times, and countries. All doctrines are only so many paths; but a path is by no means God himself. Indeed, one can reach God if one follows any of the paths with whole-hearted devotion...One may eat a cake with icing either straight or sidewise. It will taste sweet either way. ~ Sri Ramakrishna, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna ,
122:MASTER: "I want you to remember this. You may impart thousands of instructions to people, but they will not bear fruit except in proper time. On going to bed, a child said to his mother, 'Mother, please wake me up when I feel the call of nature.' The mother said: 'Don't worry about it, my child. That call will wake you up itself.' (All laugh.) One feels yearning for God at the proper time. ~ Sri Ramakrishna, Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna ,
123:A DEVOTEE:"Sir, is there no help, then, for such a worldly person?"MASTER:"Certainly there is. From time to time he should live in the company of holy men, and from time to time go into solitude and meditate on God. Furthermore, he should practice discrimination and pray to God, 'Give me faith and devotion.' Once a person has faith he has achieved everything. There is nothing greater than faith. ~ Sri Ramakrishna, The Gospels of Ramakrishna ,
124:MASTER (to Atul): "What is worrying you? Is it that you haven't that grit, that intense restlessness for God?"ATUL: "How can we keep our minds on God?"MASTER: "Abhyasayoga, the yoga of practice. You should practise calling on God every day. It is not possible to succeed in one day; through daily prayer you will come to long for God."How can you feel that restlessness if you are immersed in worldliness day and night?" ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
125:You partake of the nature of him on whom you meditate. By worshipping Siva you acquire the nature of Siva. A devotee of Rama meditated on Hanuman day and night. He used to think he had become Hanuman. In the end he was firmly convinced that he had even grown a little tail. Jnana is the characteristic of Siva, and bhakti of Vishnu. One who partakes of Siva's nature becomes a jnani, and one who partakes of Vishnu's nature becomes a bhakta. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
126:The Master came back to the drawing-room and said: "The worldly minded practise devotions, japa, and austerity only by fits and starts. But those who know nothing else but God repeat His name with every breath. Some always repeat mentally, 'Om Rāma'.Even the followers of the path of knowledge repeat, 'Soham', 'I am He'. There are others whose tongues are always moving, repeating the name of God. One should remember and think of God constantly." ~ Sri Ramakrishna, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishana ,
127:There are some true and ardent aspirants who travel from place to place in search of this pass-word from a divine and perfect instructor which will open for them the doors of the eternal beatitude, and if in their earnest search one of them is so favoured as to meet such a master and receive from him the word so ardently desired which is capable of breaking all chains, he withdraws immediately from society to enter into the profound retreat of his own heart and dwells there till he has succeeded in conquering eternal peace. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
128:The rishis of old attained the Knowledge of Brahman. One cannot have this so long as there is the slightest trace of worldliness. How hard the rishis laboured ! Early in the morning they would go away from the hermitage, and would spend the whole day in solitude, meditating on Brahman. At night they would return to the hermitage and eat a little fruit or roots. They kept their mind aloof from the objects of sight, hearing, touch, and other things of a worldly nature. Only thus did they realize Brahman as their own inner conciousness. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
129:But you must remember one thing. One cannot see God sporting as man unless one has had the vision of Him. Do you know the sign of one who has God-vision? Such a man acquires the nature of a child. Why a child? Because God is like a child. So he who sees God becomes like a child.God-vision is necessary. Now the question is, how can one get it? Intense renunciation is the means. A man should have such intense yearning for God that he can say, 'O Father of the universe, am I outside Your universe? Won't You be kind to me, You wretch? ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
130:"The thing is somehow to unite the mind with God. You must not forget Him, not even once. Your thought of Him should be like the flow of oil, without any interruption. If you worship with love even a brick or stone as God, then through His grace you can see Him."Remember what I have just said to you. One should perform such worship as the Śiva Puja. Once the mind has become mature, one doesn't have to continue formal worship for long. The mind then always remains united with God; meditation and contemplation become a constant habit of mind." ~ Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Gospel of Ramakrishna ,
131:823. Should you think of God only at the time of meditation and remain forgetful of Him at all other times? Have you not noticed how during Durga Puja a lamp is kept constantly burning near the image? It should never be allowed to go out. If ever it is extinguished, the house-holder meets with some mishap. Similarly, after installing the Deity on the lotus of your heart, you must keep the lamp of remembering Him ever burning. While engaged in the affairs of the world, you should constantly turn your gaze inwards and see whether the lamp is burning or not. ~ Sri Ramakrishna, Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna ,
132:But you must remember that nothing can be achieved except in its proper time. Some persons must pass through many experiences and perform many worldly duties before they can turn their attention to God; so they have to wait a long time. If an abscess is lanced before it is soft, the result is not good; the surgeon makes the opening when it is soft and has come to a head. Once a child said to its mother: 'Mother, I am going to sleep now. Please wake me up when I feel the call of nature.' 'My child,' said the mother, 'when it is time for that, you will wake up yourself. I shan't have to wake you.' ~ Sri Ramakrishna, Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna ,
133:Alas! I find no customers who want anything better than kalai pulse. No one wants to give up 'woman and gold'. Man, deluded by the beauty of woman and the power of money, forgets God. But to one who has seen the beauty of God, even the position of Brahma, the Creator, seems insignificant.A man said to Ravana, 'You have been going to Sita in different disguises; why don't you go to her in the form of Rama?' 'But', Ravana replied, 'when I meditate on Rama in my heart, the most beautiful women - celestial maidens like Rambha and Tilottama - appear no better than ashes of the funeral pyre. Then even the position of Brahma appears trivial to me, not to speak of the beauty of another man's wife.' ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
134:Lila is by no means the last word. Passing through all these states, I said to the Divine Mother: 'Mother, in these states there is separation. Give me a state where there is no separation.' Then I remained for some time absorbed in the Indivisible Satchidananda. I removed the pictures of the gods and goddesses from my room. I began to perceive God in all beings. Formal worship dropped away. You see that bel-tree. I used to go there to pluck its leaves. One day, as I plucked a leaf, a bit of the bark came off. I round the tree full of Consciousness. I felt grieved because I had hurt the tree. One day I tried to pluck some durva grass, but I found I couldn't do it very well. Then I forced myself to pluck it. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
135:The other day I told you the meaning of bhakti. It is to adore God with body, mind, and words. 'With body' means to serve and worship God with one's hands, go to holy places with one's feet, hear the chanting of the name and glories of God with one's ears, and behold the divine image with one's eyes. 'With mind' means to contemplate and meditate on God constantly and to remember and think of His lila. 'With words' means to sing hymns to Him and chant His name and glories.Devotion as described by Narada is suited to the Kaliyuga. It means to chant constantly the name and glories of God. Let those who have no leisure worship God at least morning and evening by whole-heartedly chanting His name and clapping their hands. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
136:God doesn't easily appear in the heart of a man who feels himself to be his own master. But God can be seen the moment His grace descends. He is the Sun of Knowledge. One single ray of His has illumined the world with the light of knowledge. That is how we are able to see one another and acquire varied knowledge. One can see God only if He turns His light toward His own face.The police sergeant goes his rounds in the dark of night with a lantern in his hand. No one sees his face; but with the help of that light the sergeant sees everybody's face, and others, too, can see one another. If you want to see the sergeant, however, you must pray to him: 'Sir, please turn the light on your own face. Let me see you.' In the same way one must pray to God: 'O Lord, be gracious and turn the light of knowledge on Thyself, that I may see Thy face.' ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
137:A disciple asked his teacher, 'Sir, please tell me how I can see God.' Come with me,' said the guru, 'and I shall show you.' He took the disciple to a lake, and both of them got into the water. Suddenly the teacher pressed the disciple's head under the water. After a few moments he released him and the disciple raised his head and stood up. The guru asked him, 'How did you feel?' The disciple said, 'Oh! I thought I should die; I was panting for breath.' The teacher said, 'When you feel like that for God, then you will know you haven't long to wait for His vision.'Let me tell you something. What will you gain by floating on the surface? Dive a little under the water. The gems lie deep under the water; so what is the good of throwing your arms and legs about on the surface? A real gem is heavy. It doesn't float; it sinks to the bottom. To get the real gem you must dive deep. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
138:Sri Ramakrishna has described the incident: "The Divine Mother revealed to me in the Kāli temple that it was She who had become everything. She showed me that everything was full of Consciousness. The image was Consciousness, the Altar was Consciousness, the water-vessels were Consciousness, the door-sill was Consciousness, the marble floor was Consciousness - all was Consciousness. I found everything inside the room soaked, as it were, in Bliss - the Bliss of God. I saw a wicked man in front of the Kāli temple; but in him also I saw the power of the Divine Mother vibrating. That was why I fed a cat with the food that was to be offered to the Divine Mother. I clearly perceived that all this was the Divine Mother - even the cat. The manager of the temple garden wrote to Mathur Bābu saying that I was feeding the cat with the offering intended for the Divine Mother. ~ Sri Ramakrishna, Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna ,
139:Sails across the sea of life in the twinkling of an eye.' One attains the vision of God if Mahamaya steps aside from the door. Mahamaya's grace is necessary: hence the worship of Sakti. You see, God is near us, but it is not possible to know Him because Mahamaya stands between. Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita were walking along. Rama walked ahead, Sita in the middle, and Lakshmana last. Lakshmana was only two and a half cubits away from Rama, but he couldn't see Rama because Sita - Mahamaya - was in the way."While worshipping God, one should assume a definite attitude. I have three attitudes: the attitude of a child, the attitude or a maidservant, and the attitude of a friend. For a long time I regarded myself as a maidservant and a woman companion of God; at that time I used to wear skirts and ornaments, like a woman. The attitude of a child is very good."The attitude of a 'hero' is not good. Some people cherish it. They regard themselves as Purusha and woman as Prakriti; they want to propitiate woman through intercourse with her. But this method often causes disaster. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
140:An Informal Integral Canon: Selected books on Integral Science, Philosophy and the Integral Transformation Sri Aurobindo - The Life Divine Sri Aurobindo - The Synthesis of Yoga Pierre Teilhard de Chardin - The Phenomenon of Man Jean Gebser - The Ever-Present Origin Edward Haskell - Full Circle - The Moral Force of Unified Science Oliver L. Reiser - Cosmic Humanism and World Unity Christopher Hills - Nuclear Evolution: Discovery of the Rainbow Body The Mother - Mother's Agenda Erich Jantsch - The Self-Organizing Universe - Scientific and Human Implications of the Emerging Paradigm of Evolution T. R. Thulasiram - Arut Perum Jyothi and Deathless Body Kees Zoeteman - Gaiasophy Ken Wilber - Sex Ecology Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution Don Edward Beck - Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership, and Change Kundan Singh - The Evolution of Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo, Sri Ramakrishna, and Swami Vivekananda Sean Esbjorn-Hargens - Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World ~ M Alan Kazlev, Kheper.html">Kheper ,
141:Yet this was only a foretaste of the intense experiences to come. The first glimpse of the Divine Mother made him the more eager for Her uninterrupted vision. He wanted to see Her both in meditation and with eyes open. But the Mother began to play a teasing game of hide-and-seek with him, intensifying both his joy and his suffering. Weeping bitterly during the moments of separation from Her, he would pass into a trance and then find Her standing before him, smiling, talking, consoling, bidding him be of good cheer, and instructing him. During this period of spiritual practice he had many uncommon experiences. When he sat to meditate, he would hear strange clicking sounds in the joints of his legs, as if someone were locking them up, one after the other, to keep him motionless; and at the conclusion of his meditation he would again hear the same sounds, this time unlocking them and leaving him free to move about. He would see flashes like a swarm of fire-flies floating before his eyes, or a sea of deep mist around him, with luminous waves of molten silver. Again, from a sea of translucent mist he would behold the Mother rising, first Her feet, then Her waist, body, face, and head, finally Her whole person; he would feel Her breath and hear Her voice. Worshipping in the temple, sometimes he would become exalted, sometimes he would remain motionless as stone, sometimes he would almost collapse from excessive emotion. Many of his actions, contrary to all tradition, seemed sacrilegious to the people. He would take a flower and touch it to his own head, body, and feet, and then offer it to the Goddess. ~ Sri Ramakrishna, Gospel ,

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1:Holy sandals used by ~ Sri Ramakrishna....,
2:Let's not go into the past. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
3:Now... We are going in a loop. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
4:There are three kinds of love; ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
5:Bhakti is the one essential thing. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
6:As Long As I Live, So Long Do I Learn ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
7:Great men have the nature of a child. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
8:If one has faith, one has everything. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
9:Alone the sage can recognize the sage. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
10:As long as I live, so long do I learn. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
11:If you want to go east, don't go west. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
12:Do yourself what you wish others to do. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
13:The soul bound is man; free, it is God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
14:Man suffers through lack of faith in God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
15:Respect is heaven, respect is liberation. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
16:What you wish others to do, do yourselves. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
17:All troubles come to an end when the ego dies ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
18:Bondage and Liberation are of the mind alone. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
19:Forgiveness is the true nature of the ascetic. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
20:God has created the world in play, as it were. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
21:When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
22:Have love for everyone, no one is other than you. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
23:Infinite are the paths and infinite the opinions. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
24:Through selfless work, love of God grows in heart. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
25:When the flower blooms
The bees come uninvited. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
26:The grace of God is a wind which is always blowing. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
27:Once a person has faith, he has achieved everything. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
28:Wisdom leads to unity, but ignorance to separation. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
29:It is necessary to pray to Him, with a longing Heart. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
30:Knowledge leads to unity, but ignorance to diversity. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
31:He who has faith has all, and he who lacks it lacks all. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
32:Let not worldly thoughts and anxieties disturb the mind. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
33:Cultivate love and devotion for God and so pass your days. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
34:Let not worldly thoughts and anxieties trouble your minds. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
35:Why does God allow evil in the world? To thicken the plot. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
36:You should love everyone because God dwells in all beings. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
37:Verily, I say to thee; he who seeks the Eternal, finds Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
38:You have, no doubt, the power of His spark within yourself. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
39:I have no disciple. I am the servant of the servant of Rama . ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
40:It is easy to talk on religion, but difficult to practice it. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
41:Man is divine so long as he is in communion with the Eternal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
42:The spirit and the form; sentiment within and symbol without. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
43:All the gods and goddesses are only varied aspects of the One. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
44:Different creeds are but different paths to reach the same God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
45:The world is impermanent. One should constantly remember death. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
46:God cannot be realizxd if there is the slightest trace of pride. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
47:Unless a man is simple, he cannot recognize God, the Simple One. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
48:Unalloyed love of God is the essential thing. All else is unreal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
49:One cannot be spiritual as long as one has shame, hatred, or fear. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
50:The waves belong to the water. Does the water belong to the waves? ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
51:The world is not impermanent if one lives there after knowing God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
52:Weep for God and the tears will wash away the dirt from your mind. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
53:Weep for God, and the tears will wash away the dirt from your mind. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
54:Who is whose Guru? God alone is the guide and Guru of the universe. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
55:He whose heart longs after the Deity, has no time for anything else. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
56:So many religions, so many paths to reach the one and the same goal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
57:The supreme purpose and goal for human life... is to cultivate love. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
58:Finish the few duties you have at hand, and then you will have peace. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
59:God is in all men, but all men are not in God; that is why we suffer. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
60:It is the mind that makes one wise or ignorant, bound or emancipated. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
61:Pray to Him anyway you like, He can even hear the footfall of an ant. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
62:As a lamp does not burn without oil, so a man cannot live without God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
63:The winds of grace are always blowing, but you have to raise the sail. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
64:One day, it was suddenly revealed to me that everything is pure spirit. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
65:To work without attachment is to work without the expectation of reward. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
66:There is no hope for a worldly man if he is not sincerely devoted to God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
67:The winds of grace blow all the time. All we need to do is set our sails. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
68:With sincerity and earnestness one can realize God through all religions. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
69:As for me, I consider myself as a speck of the dust of the devotee's feet. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
70:The breeze of grace is always blowing; set your sail to catch that breeze. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
71:The goal of life is not the earning of money, but the service of God.p.114 ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
72:Whoever wants God intensely, finds Him. Go and verify it in your own life. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
73:The greater his aspiration and concentration, the more he finds the Eternal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
74:Do all your duties, but keep your mind on God. Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna,p.81 ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
75:He alone is the true teacher who is illumined by the light of true Knowledge. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
76:If you live one sixth of what is taught you, you will surely attain the goal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
77:The winds of God's grace are always blowing, it is for us to raise our sails. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
78:What is the use of merely listening to lectures? The real thing is practice. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
79:Work, apart from devotion or love of God, is helpless and cannot stand alone. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
80:Give up knowledge and reasoning. Take up bhakti instead. Bhakti is the essence. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
81:Live like a mud-fish: its skin is bright and shiny even though it lives in mud. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
82:Honour both spirit and form, the sentiment within as well as the symbol without. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
83:Who can be the Master of another? The Eternal alone is the guide and the Master. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
84:God is fond of His devotees. He runs after the devotee as the cow after the calf. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
85:The company of saints and sages is one of the chief agents of spiritual progress. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
86:Unless one always speaks the truth, one cannot find God Who is the soul of truth. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
87:Unless one always speaks the truth, one cannot find God who is the soul of truth. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
88:God provides everything for a genuine devotee, even without his making any effort. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
89:He who meditates on God for many days has substance in him, has divine power in him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
90:Men bound hand and foot in the endless chain of cause & effect cannot free each other. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
91:The Man who works for others, without any selfish motive, really does good to himself. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
92:As the snake is separate from its slough, even so is the Spirit separate from the body. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
93:If you must be mad, be it not for the things of the world. Be mad with the love of God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
94:I will therefore make ready to render my thought an alien to the illusion of the world. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
95:One must be very particular about telling the truth. Through truth one can realise God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
96:One must be very particular about telling the truth. Through truth one can realize God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
97:Try to cultivate love of God. You are born as a human being only to attain divine love. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
98:Be indifferent to the praise and blame of men; consider it as if the croakings of frogs. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
99:Do not seek illumination unless you seek it as a man whose hair is on fire seeks a pond. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
100:The tree laden with fruits always bends low. If you wish to be great, be lowly and meek. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
101:Why should you renounce everything? You are all right as you are, following the middle... ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
102:Do not listen if one criticises or blames thy Master, leave his presence that very moment. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
103:The knowledge which purifies the intelligence is true knowledge. All the rest is ignorance. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
104:The eternal Truth shall never be attained by him who is not entirely truthful in his speech. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
105:One who thinks that his spiritual guide is merely a man, can draw no profit from his contact. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
106:The knowledge which leads one to the realization of God is real knowledge. All else is futile. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
107:Good and evil cannot bind him who has realised the oneness of nature and self with the Eternal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
108:The depth of the heart, the retired corner, and the forest are the three places for meditation. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
109:If a man prays to Thee with a yearning heart, he can reach Thee, through Thy grace, by any path. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
110:One must show respect to the religious garb. Even the mere garb recalls to mind the real object. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
111:The fabled musk deer searches the world over for the source of the scent which comes from itself. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
112:One should constantly repeat the name of God. The name of God is highly effective in the Kaliyuga. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
113:A truly religious man should think that other religions also have many paths leading to the truth. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
114:Everyone is going toward God. They will all realize Him if they have sincerity and longing of heart. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
115:When the fruit appears the blossom drops off. Love of God is the fruit, and rituals are the blossom. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
116:Many good sayings are to be found in holy books, but merely reading them will not make one religious. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
117:One cannot realize God without sincerity and simplicity. God is far, far away from the crooked heart. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
118:The world is indeed a mixture of truth and make-believe. Discard the make-believe and take the truth. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
119:At the beginning the aspirant should go into solitude now and then. Spiritual discipline is necessary. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
120:His name is conscious spirit, His abode is conscious spirit and He, the Lord, is all conscious spirit. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
121:If diving once does not bring you pearls, you need not therefore conclude that the sea is without them. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
122:One has no fear of ‘lust and greed’ when one knows that ‘God is the only Reality and all else ephemeral. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
123:The man who lives in the bosom of the temptations of the world and attains perfection, is the true hero. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
124:All is Narayana, man or animal, the wise and the wicked, the whole world is Narayana, the Supreme Spirit. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
125:As the drowning man pants hard for breath, so must ones heart yearn for the Lord before one can find Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
126:The breeze of grace is always blowing on you. You have to open the sails and your boat will move forward. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
127:You must call on God with great yearning. You can hear from the lips of the Guru how God can be realized. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
128:God is everywhere but He is most manifest in man. So serve man as God. That is as good as worshipping God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
129:Longing is like the rosy dawn. After the dawn out comes the sun. Longing is followed by the vision of God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
130:The Eternal is in every man, but all men are not in the Eternal; there lies the cause of their suffering. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,,
131:It is easy to meditate on an Incarnation --- God born as man. Yes, God in man. The body is a mere covering. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
132:An ocean of bliss may rain down from the heavens, but if you hold up only a thimble, that is all you receive ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
133:Disease is the tax which the soul pays for the body, as the tenant pays house-rent for the use of the house. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
134:Dislodging a green nut from it's shell is almost impossible, but let it dry and the lightest tap will do it. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
135:God is seen when the mind is completely rid of attachment. Whatever rises in a pure mind is the voice of God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
136:He whose thought is always fixed on the Eternal has no need of any devotional practice or spiritual exercise. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
137:Following the path of devotion, one realizes everything through His grace--- both Knowledge and Supreme Wisdom. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
138:A man's spiritual gain depends on his ideas and sentiments; it is the product of his heart and not of his works. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
139:The Mother showed me that all this is verily maya. She alone is, real, and all else is the splendour of Her maya. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
140:Blessed you are indeed that you chant the name of Hari and sing the Divine Mother's glories. I like your attitude. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
141:Avail yourself of your home-life to rise your spiritual condition before you take to the austerities of asceticism. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
142:Give God the power of attorney. Let Him do whatever He wants. Be like a kitten and cry to Him with a fervent heart. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
143:He who is called Krishna is also Siva and the Primal Sakti...He again, who is called Jesus and Allah. Truth is one. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
144:That knowledge which purifies the mind and heart alone is true Knowledge, all else is only a negation of Knowledge. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
145:f you are keen on realising God, repeat His name' with firm faith, and try to discriminate the Real from the unreal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
146:The compassion that you see in the kindhearted is God's compassion. He has given it to them to protect the helpless. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
147:Mix with all as if they were all one's own, but bear in mind that they do not belong to you. 'God alone is your own.' ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
148:The less you attached to the world, the more you love God.The nearer you approach to God, the more you feel His love. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
149:Once the seed of bhakti is sown, the effect is inevitable: it will gradually grow into a tree with flowers and fruits. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
150:Disease is the tax which the soul pays for the use of the body, as the tenant pays house-rent for the use of the house. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
151:Meditate on the Eternal either in an unknown nook or in the solitude of the forests or in the solitude of thy own mind. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
152:Surrender everything at His feet and give Him the general power of attorney. Let Him do what He considers best for you. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
153:Take refuge in God. Meditate on Him. There is no use in giving up God and feeling depressed from thinking about others. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
154:When divine vision is attained, all appear equal; and there remains no distinction of good and bad, or of high and low. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
155:If there are errors in other religions, that is none of our business. God, to whom the world belongs, takes care of that. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
156:There can be no fear, if the Guru's grace descends on one. He will let you know who you are and what your real nature is. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
157:To discern the eternal Reality and to detach oneself from the world are the two means of purification of the human heart. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
158:He who can resign himself to the will of the Almighty with simple faith and guileless love realises the Lord very quickly. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
159:Once the mind has been trained to fix itself on formed images, it can easily accustom itself to fix on formless realities. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
160:The world is impermanent. [All things change. Knowing this helps you see the end of any difficulty and thereby have hope.] ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
161:As long as one craves worldly enjoyment, one cannot renounce work. One has to perform work as long as one desires pleasure. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
162:Being born as a human being, it is essential to realize God. All worldly education is futile to cross the ocean of samsara. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
163:The individual consciousness by the attempt to measure the Impersonal loses its individual egoism and becomes one with Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
164:When the divine vision is attained, all appear equal; and there remains no distinction of good and bad, or of high and low. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
165:As dawn announces the rising of the sun, so in a man disinterestedness, purity, rectitude forerun the coming of the Eternal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
166:God incarnates Himself as man and teaches people the path of devotion. He exhorts people to cultivate self-surrender to God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
167:God's Incarnation as a man cannot be explained by analogy. One must feel it for oneself and realize it by direct perception. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
168:Can he rectify false weight whose own scales are uncertain? Can you enlighten your neighbor while you yourself have no light? ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
169:If you have loving devotion – zealous love and devotion – God cannot remain unmoved. How great is God’s fondness for devotion! ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
170:Pray to God in secret and with yearning, that you may have that passionate attachment and devotion to Him. Shed tears for Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
171:All other vanities can be gradually extinguished, but the vanity of the saint in his saintliness is difficult indeed to banish. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
172:The companionship of a holy man is greatly needed now and then. It enables one to discriminate between the Real and the unreal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
173:This liberation is attained by him alone who has understood the lesson of complete disinterestedness and forgetfulness of self. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
174:What is this divine intoxication? In this state a man forgets the world. He also forgets his own body, which is so dear to all. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
175:A devotee can know everything when God's grace descends on him. If you but realize Him , you will be able to know all about Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
176:He is born in vain, who having attained the human birth, so difficult to get, does not attempt to realize God in this very life. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
177:The vanities of all others may gradually die out, but the vanity of a saint regarding his sainthood is hard indeed to wear away. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
178:You should not feel that your path is the only right path and that other paths are wrong. You mustn't bear malice toward others. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
179:Perform all your worldly duties with your hands, never forgetting to repeat and glorify the name of the Lord with all your heart. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
180:Such are they who have not acquired self-knowledge, men who vaunt their science, are proud of their wisdom, vain of their riches. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
181:God alone is real. Make an effort to cultivate love for Him and find out the means to realize Him. What will you gain by grieving? ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
182:God in the form of the saint, God in the form of the sinner, God in the form of the righteous, God in the form of the unrighteous. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
183:If you meditate on your ideal, you will acquire its nature. If you think of God day and night, you will acquire the nature of God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
184:Increase your service to Him ( ~ Sri Ramakrishna) as well as your Japa and meditation, and read books about the Master. ~ Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi,
185:You can’t gain spiritual awareness by just reading books. You have to call upon Him. The Kundalini wakes up when you yearn for God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
186:It's enough to have faith in one aspect of God. But never get into your head that your faith alone is true and every other is false. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
187:At a certain stage in the path of devotion, the devotee finds satisfaction in God with form, and at another stage, in God without it. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
188:If one has the grace of the Guru, there is no fear. The Guru will open your eyes and tell you who you are and what your real self is. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
189:Man needs a guru. But a man must have faith in the guru's words. He succeeds in spiritual life by looking on his guru as God Himself. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
190:One attains God through japa. By repeating the name of God secretly and in solitude one receives divine grace. Then comes His vision. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
191:Pray to God that your attachment to such transitory things as wealth, name, and creature comforts may become less and less every day. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
192:So long as the mentality is inconstant and inconsequent, it is worthless, though one have a good teacher and the company of holy men. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
193:That intelligence is the right one which helps one to realize God. And that intelligence is inferior which brings worldly prosperity. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
194:When one is sincere, one can realize the Lord through whatsoever path one proceeds. God is Infinite; so are the paths leading to Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
195:If thy first endeavour to find the Eternal bears no fruit, lose not courage. Persevere and at last thou shalt obtain the divine grace. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
196:If you surrender to the Lord and call on Him with a heart full of yearning, He is bound to listen and take care of everything for you. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
197:Pray to God with a yearning heart. Pray to Him for discrimination. 'God alone is real and all else illusory' - this is discrimination. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
198:The ego is like the root of a banyan tree, you think you have removed it all then one fine morning you see a sprout flourishing again. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
199:You veil your eyes and complain that you cannot see the Eternal. If you wish to seeHim, tear from your eyes the veil of the illusion. ~ Sri Ramakrishnan,
200:A boat maybe in water but water should not be in the boat. An aspirant may live in the world, but the world should not live within him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
201:Bondage is of the mind; freedom too is of the mind. If you say 'I am a free soul. I am a son of God who can bind me' free you shall be. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
202:Live in the world, but be not worldly. As the saying goes, make the frog dance before the snake, but let not the snake swallow the frog. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
203:Now pray to God – pray sincerely – only this prayer: “O Lord, I don’t want the glories of Your world-bewitching Maya, I want You alone!” ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
204:One may perform worship, repetition of the Name, sandhya and other ritual practices, but they yield nothing unless one has faith in God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
205:By the mind one is bound; by the mind one is freed. ... He who asserts with strong conviction: "I am not bound, I am free," becomes free. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
206:As a piece of rope, when burnt, retains its form, but cannot serve to bind, so is the ego which is burnt by the fire of supreme Knowledge. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
207:Add your tears to your yearning. And if you can renounce everything through discrimination and dispassion, then you will be able to see God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
208:A man is truly free, even here in this embodied state, if he knows that God is the true agent and he by himself is powerless to do anything. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
209:The idea of an individual ego is just like enclosing a portion of the water of the Ganges and calling the enclosed portion one's own Ganges. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
210:When you are engaged in devotional practices, keep aloof from those who scoff at them, and also from those who ridicule piety and the pious. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
211:A boat may stay in water, but water should not stay in the boat. An aspirant may live in the world, but the world should not live within him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
212:However much one may have studied books, it is all futile unless one has love and devotion for God, unless one has the desire to realize Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
213:The mind is like a needle covered with mud, and God is like a magnet. The needle cannot be united with the magnet unless it is free from mud. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
214:All religions are true. God can be reached by different religions. Many rivers flow by many ways but they fall into the sea. They all are one. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
215:One likes nothing else after experiencing the bliss of God. When one becomes mad with love for God, he is not attracted by money and the rest. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
216:Sugar and sand may be mixed together, but the ant rejects the sand and goes off with the sugar grain; so pious men lift the good from the bad. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
217:With eyes covered with the film of Maya, you complain that you cannot see God. If you wish to see Him, remove the film of Maya from your eyes. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
218:Just discernment is of two kinds. The first conducts us towards the phenomenon, while the second knows how the Absolute appears in the universe. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
219:"O Mother, I am without any sadhana, without Bhajan. O Mother,give me knowledge,give me devotion.O mother,may I have a mind fixed at your feet!" ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
220:One must pray to God without any selfish desire. But selfish worship, if practiced with perseverance, is gradually turned into selfless worship. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
221:So long as the mind is inconstant and inconsequent, it will avail nothing, even though one have a good instructor and the company of the saints. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
222:There are pearls in the depths of the ocean, but one must dare all the perils of the deep to have them. So is. it with the Eternal in the world. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
223:Trust Him ( ~ Sri Ramakrishna), and submit to His Will..... Even if misfortunes come, or you starve, never let it take you away from Him! ~ SWAMI TRIGUNATITANANDA,
224:You must reach God somehow or other. Call on Him in solitude and pray to Him, 'O Lord! reveal Thyself to me.' Weep for Him with a longing heart. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
225:A boat may stay in water, but water should not stay in boat. A spiritual aspirant may live in the world, but the world should not live within him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
226:Do all your duties, but keep your mind on God. If you enter the world without first cultivating love for God, you will be entangled more and more. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
227:As the cloud covers the sun, so Maya hides the Deity. When the cloud moves away, the sun is seen again; when Maya is removed, God becomes manifest. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
228:What offering should be made that we may attain to the Eternal? To find the Eternal thou must offer him thy body, thy mind and all thy possessions. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
229:When one has love for God, one doesn't feel any physical attraction to wife, children, relatives and friends. One retains only compassion for them. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
230:Do your worldly duties but fix your mind on God. And know that house, family, and son do not belong to you; they are God's. You are only His servant. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
231:Live in holy company. Try to be pure. And everything will be achieved gradually. Pray to Sri Ramakrishna. I am with you. Why do you fear? ~ Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi,
232:O world-bound soul, perform all your worldly duties with your hands, never forgetting to repeat and glorify the name of the Lord with all your heart. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
233:That man whose hair stands on end at the mere mention of the name of God, and from whose eyes flow tears of love—he has indeed reached his last birth. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
234:As soft clay easily takes an impression, but not hard stone, so also Divine wisdom impresses itself on the heart of a devotee, but not on a bound soul. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
235:It is not possible to acquire renunciation all at once. By constantly hearing about renunciation one's desire for worldly objects gradually wears away. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
236:When the soul attains to its divine estate, it can live in constant contact wtth innumerable unregenerated souls without being affected by the contact. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
237:A boat can be in the water, but the water ought not to be in the boat. So the aspirant may live in the world, but the world should find no place in him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
238:As is a man's feeling of love, so is his gain. ..... Verily, the Lord looks into a man's heart and does not judge him by what he does or where he lives. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
239:If a white cloth is stained even with a small spot, the stain appears very ugly indeed. So the smallest fault of a holy man becomes painfully prominent. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
240:At a certain stage in the path of devotion the religious man finds satisfaction in the Divinity with a form, at another stage in the formless Impersonal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
241:One should perspire, dancing and singing the name of God, as people do earning money. It will be nice if you sing devotional songs that way now and then. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
242:There is a greater accumulation of divinity in man. Man is Narayana Himself. If God can manifest Himself through an image, then why not through man also? ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
243:This is the one thing needful, the chanting of God's name. All else is unreal. Love and devotion alone are real, and other things are of no consequences. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
244:Be greedy for God-realization. Fall in love with God’s beauty and say: “I am the servant of God. I am His son.” If you have to be proud, be proud of this. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
245:So long as man has not thrown from him the load of worldly desire which he carries about with him, he cannot be in tranquillity and at peace with himself. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
246:God, before He comes to the heart, sends servants to make it ready for His coming. And who are those servants? Purity, chastity, humility, loving-kindness. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
247:He alone enters the Kingdom of Heaven who is not a thief of his own thoughts. In other words, guilelessness and simple faith are the roads to that Kingdom. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
248:The aim of life is the attainment of God. Work is only a preliminary step; it can never be the end. Even unselfish work is only a means; it is not the end. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
249:Do not be small minded. Do not pray for gourds and pumpkins from God, when you should be asking for pure love and pure knowledge to dawn within every heart. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
250:Never mind. One can realize God in the world, too, if only one is sincere. 'I' and 'mine'-that is ignorance. But, 'O God! Thou and Thine'-that is knowledge. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
251:The knowledge of the Eternal and the love of the Eternal are in the end one and the same thing. There is no difference between pure knowledge and pure love. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
252:It is not lust alone that one should be afraid of in the life of the world. There is also anger. Anger arises when obstacles are placed in the way of desire. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
253:The virtuous cannot but take care for their body, the temple of the soul in which the Eternal, manifests Himself or which has been consecrated by His coming. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
254:Try to live in God and you will not suffer from misery. Living in God means that one offers one’s body and mind to Him. Have constant recollectedness of God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
255:The aim of prayer, of spiritual discipline, of chanting the name and glories of God, is to realize that everything is God. For that alone a devotee loves God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
256:Travel in all the four quarters of the earth, you will find nothing (no true religion) anywhere. Whatever there is, is only here (i .e . in one 's own heart.) ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
257:Who can know God fully? It is not given to us, nor is it required of us, to know Him fully. It is enough if we can see Him - feel that He is the only reality. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
258:There is no danger of thorns, if one is wearing shoes. One has no fear of ‘lust and greed’ when one knows that ‘God is the only Reality and all else ephemeral. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
259:To control the mind the best and easiest method is to repeat constantly God's Name. Concentration is attained by fixing the attention on the sound of the Name. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
260:Discrimination and dispassion. Differentiating between the real and the unreal in this manner is discrimination. Dispassion means a distaste for worldly things. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
261:One cannot attain divine knowledge till one gets rid of pride. Water does not stay on the top of a mound; but into low land it flows in torrents from all sides. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
262:The One is attained when man arrives at ripeness in one of these three states of his spirit, “All is myself, All is thou,” “Thou art the Master, I the servant.” ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
263:If you spent one-tenth of the time you devoted to distractions like chasing women or making money to spiritual practice, you would be enlightened in a few years. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
264:Take the pearl and throw from you the shell; take the instruction which is given you by your Master and put out of your view the human weaknesses of the teacher. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
265:The perfect man, whose mind is thoroughly disciplined, has his eyes constantly directed towards God even when he is weighed down by the burden of worldly duties. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
266:He is in truth the man of piety who is dead even in his lifetime, that is to say, whose passions and desires have been destroyed and are like a body that is dead. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
267:Many are the names of God and infinite the forms through which He may be approached. In whatever name and form you worship Him, through that you will realise Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
268:We laugh at the efforts of the musk deer to find the source of the scent which comes from itself and despair at our efforts to find the peace which is our essence. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
269:You must know that there are different tastes. There are also different powers of digestion... different temperaments... differences in the capacity to comprehend. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
270:If a man but once tastes the joy of God, his desire to argue takes wing. What will you achieve by quoting from books? The pundits recite verses and do nothing else. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
271:If you keep your heart immersed always in the depth of that holy love, your heart is sure to remain ever full to overflowing with the Divine fervour of sacred love. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
272:Common men talk bagfuls of religion but do not practise even a grain of it. The wise man speaks a little, even though his whole life is religion expressed in action. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
273:How dare you talk of helping the world? God alone can do that. First you must be made free from all sense of self; then the Divine Mother will give you a task to do. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
274:When you meditate, go into the solitude of a forest, or a quiet corner, and enter into the chamber of your heart. And always keep your power of discrimination awake. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
275:You must be firm in one ideal. Dive deep. Otherwise you cannot get the gems at the bottom of the ocean. You cannot pick up the gems if you only float on the surface. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
276:Always keep your mind spotless. Don't allow impure thoughts to enter it. If you find such desires tormenting you, pray to God and chant His name. He will protect you. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
277:He incarnates as a human being, as God-incarnate, and is accompanied by devotees [intimate companions]. This assuming of a human body is for the sake of the devotees. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
278:Many are the names of God and infinite are the forms through which He may be approached. In whatever name and form you worship Him, through them you will realise Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
279:More are the names of God and infinite are the forms through which He may be approached. In whatever name and form you worship Him, through them you will realise Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
280:So long as a man has a little knowledge, he goes everywhere reading and preaching; but when the perfect knowledge has been attained, one ceases from vain ostentation. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
281:What is required is heart, intense hankering, sincere longing for God. When, to a person, life without God is unbearable, then alone God reveals Himself to that soul. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
282:God’s will is both in worldliness and freedom. It is He, who has kept you unconscious in worldly life. And again, at His will, when He calls you, you will be liberated. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
283:Our Master (Sri Ramakrishna) is mother, father, friend, relative, acquaintance, nearest and dearest, and everything. Always think of the Master as your own. ~ Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi,
284:If you first fortify yourself with the true knowledge of the Universal Self, and then live in the midst of wealth and worldliness, surely they will in no way affect you. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
285:In the scriptures you will find the way to realize God. But after getting all the information about the path, you must begin to work, Only then can you attain your goal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
286:So we should acquire the power of concentration by fixing the mind first on forms and when we have obtained in this a full success, we can easily fix it on the formless. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
287:As the water of the ocean is now calm and next agitated into waves, so are Brahman and Maya. The ocean in the tranquil state is Brahman, and in the turbulent state, Maya. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
288:It is God alone who makes people see things in different ways. Know that people have different natures. Realize this and mix with them as much as you can. And love all. . ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
289:The fool who repeats again and again: "I am bound, I am bound," remains in bondage. He who repeats day and night: "I am a sinner, I am a sinner," becomes a sinner indeed. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
290:What is bhaktiyoga? It is to keep the mind on God by chanting His name and glories. For the Kaliyuga the path of devotion is easiest. This is indeed the path for this age. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
291:If you first strengthen yourself with the true knowledge of the Universal Self, and then live in the midst of wealth and worldliness, surely they will in no way affect you. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
292:In the beginning of spiritual life one goes by a roundabout way. One has to suffer a great deal. But the path becomes very easy when ecstatic love is awakened in the heart. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
293:It is true that one's spiritual feelings are awakened by looking at the picture of a sadhu. Therefore I tell you that you should constantly live in the company of holy men. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
294:Lay the burden of your mind before Sri Ramakrishna. Tell Him your sorrows with your tears. You will find that He will fill up your arms with the desired object. ~ Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi,
295:Then is the Eternal seen when the mind it at rest. When the sea of mind is tossed by the winds of desire, it cannot reflect the Eternal and all divine vision is impossible. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
296:As a bird of the waters, such as the pelican, can dive into the waves and his plumage is not wetted, the liberated soul lives in the world, but is not affected by the world. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
297:As a toy fruit or a toy elephant reminds one of the real fruit and the living animal, so do the images that are worshipped remind one of the God who is formless and eternal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
298:I ask people to renounce mentally. I do not ask them to give up the world. If one lives in the world unattached and seeks God with sincerity, then one is able to attain Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
299:The Eternal is seen when the mind is at rest. When the sea of the mind is troubled by the winds of desire, it cannot reflect the Eternal and all divine vision is impossible. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
300:Through selfless work, love of God grows in the heart. Then through his grace one realize him in course of time. God can be seen. One can talk to him as I am talking to you. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
301:Abhyasayoga, the yoga of practice. You should practice calling on God every day. It is not possible to succeed in one day; through daily prayer you will come to long for God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
302:As clouds cover the sun, so the Illusion hides theDivinity. When the clouds recede, the sun becomes visible; even so when the Illusion is dissipated, theEternal can be seen. ~ Sri Ramakrishnan,
303:A truly religious man should think that other religions are also so many paths leading to the Truth. We should always maintain an attitude of respect towards other religions. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
304:Give up everything to the Lord, resign yourself to Him, and your troubles and sorrows will be at an end. Then you will come to know that everything is done by His will alone. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
305:Make your meditation a continuous state of mind. A great worship is going on all the time, so nothing should be neglected or excluded from your constant meditative awareness. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
306:He who from the depth of his soul seeks to know God will certainly realize Him. He must. He alone who is restless for God and seeks nothing but Him will certainly realize Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
307:Ordinary men pronounce a sackful of discourses on religion, but do not put a grain into practice, while the sage speaks little, but his whole life is religion put in to action ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
308:Be devoted to Sri Ramakrishna and take shelter at His feet. It is enough to remember that there is some one call him father or mother , who is always protecting you. ~ Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi,
309:I ask people to live in the world and at the same time fix their minds on God. I don't ask them to give up the world. I say, 'Fulfill your worldly duties and also think of God.' ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
310:Innumerable are the ways that lead to God. There are the paths of jnana, of karma, and of bhakti. If you are sincere, you will attain God in the end , whichever path you follow. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
311:Whoever thinks himself an imperfect and worldly soul, is really an imperfect and worldly soul; whoever deems himself divine, becomes divine. What a man thinks he is, he becomes. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
312:I say why do you harp on money? You talk so much of your wife and of name and fame. Give all these up and direct your mind to God with full concentration. Enjoy the bliss of God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
313:The sun can give heat and light to the whole world, but he cannot do so when the clouds shut out his rays. Similarly as long as egotism veils the heart, God cannot shine upon it. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
314:The holy company begets yearning for God. It begets love of God. There is another benefit from holy company. It helps one cultivate discrimination between the Real and the Unreal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
315:The sun can give heat and light to the whole world, but he cannot do so when the clouds shut out his rays. Similarly, as long as egotism veils the heart, God cannot shine upon it. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
316:As wet wood, put on a furnace, loses its moisture gradually, so the moisture of worldliness dries away of itself from the man who has taken refuge in God and repeats His holy name. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
317:Call with Bhakti (Love) upon His Hallowed Name and the mountain of your sins shall disappear as a mountain of cotton-wool will vanish in an instant if it catches one spark of fire. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
318:To work without attachment is to work without the expectation of reward or fear of any punishment in this world or the next. Work so done is a means to the end, and God is the end. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
319:God with form and the formless God are both equally true. What do you say? One cannot keep one's mind on the formless God a long time. That is why God assumes form for His devotees. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
320:It is on account of the ego that one is not able to see God. In front of the door of God's mansion lies the stump of ego. One cannot enter the mansion without jumping over the stump. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
321:One acquires the nature of the ideal one meditates upon. By meditating on the Lord night and day, one attains His nature. A salt doll went to fathom the ocean; it became one with it. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
322:The mind and intellect become pure the moment they are free from attachment to 'lust and greed'. The pure mind and pure intellect are one and the same. God is known by the pure mind. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
323:Sugar and sand may be mixed together, but the ant rejects the sand and carries away the grains of sugar. So the holy Paramahamsas and pious men successfully sift the good from the bad. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
324:Those who wish to attain God and progress in religious devotion, should particularly guard themselves against the snares of lust and wealth. Otherwise they can never attain perfection. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
325:Everything depends upon the will of the Lord. Effort is necessary for God-vision. You wish me to show you God while you sit quietly by, without making the least effort! How unreasonable! ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
326:Only he who constantly thinks of God can know His real nature. He alone knows that God reveals Himself in different forms and different ways, that He has attributes and, again, has none. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
327:The anvil of the blacksmith remains unshaken under numberless blows of the hammer; so should a man endure with unshaken patience all the ordeals and persecutions which may come upon him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
328:Bow down and adore where others bend the knee; for where so great a number of men pay the tribute of their adoration, the Impersonal must needs manifest Himself, for He is all compassion. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
329:The way to realize God is through discrimination, renunciation, and yearning for Him. What kind of yearning? One should yearn for God as the cow, with yearning heart, runs after its calf. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
330:Living in the world one is safe, if one has Viveka (discrimination of the Real from the unreal), and Vairagya (dispassion for worldly things), and along with these intense devotion to God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
331:That man is a true man whose mind dwells on God. He alone is a man whose spiritual consciousness has been awakened and who is firmly convinced that God alone is real and all else illusory. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
332:The way of love is as true as the way of knowledge. All paths ultimately lead to the same Truth. But as long as God keeps the feeling of ego in us, it is easier to follow the path of love. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
333:As the darkness of centuries is scattered when the light is brought into a chamber, so the accumulated faults of numberless births vanish before a single shaft of the light of the Almighty. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
334:Whosoever can cry to the All-Powerful with sincerity and an intense passion of the soul has no need of a Master. But so profound an aspiration is very rare; hence the necessity of a Master. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
335:Do you meditate? Do you know what one feels in meditation? The mind becomes like a continuous flow of oil — it thinks of one object only, and that is God. It does not think of anything else. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
336:The feeling ' I am the doer ' is the outcome of ignorance . But the feeling that God does everything is due to knowledge. God alone is the Doer; all others are mere instruments in His hands. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
337:A man cannot comprehend spiritual things with his ordinary intelligence. To understand them he must live in the company of holy persons. You learn to feel the pulse by living with a physician ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
338:I don't know anything, Mother. I have taken refuge at Thy feet. I have sought protection in Thee. O Mother, I pray only that I may have pure love for Thy Lotus Feet, love that seeks no return. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
339:When by a constant practice a man is capable of effecting mental concentration, then wherever he may be, his mind will always lift itself above his surroundings and will repose in the Eternal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
340:You have had enough of lectures, arguments, quarrels,discussions, and dissensions. Can such things interest you any more? Now gather your whole mind and direct it to God. Plunge deep into God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
341:God always responds if one calls on Him intently with a simple, pure, sincere heart. He always protects His devotees from danger and difficulties. He is graciously affectionate to his devotees. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
342:When the mind is freed from 'lust and greed', it can be directed to God and become absorbed in Him. It is the bound alone who can be freed. The moment the mind turns away from God, it is bound. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
343:In the Ineffable who is the indivisible and eternal bliss, are centred all pleasure and happiness. Those who enjoy him, can find no attraction in the facile and valueless pleasures of the world. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
344:Live in the world like a waterfowl. The water clings to the bird, but the bird shakes it off. Live in the world like a mudfish. The fish lives in the mud, but its skin is always bright and shiny. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
345:Those who wish to attain God or make progress in their devotional practices should particularly guard themselves against the snares of lust and wealth. Otherwise they can never attain perfection. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
346:God sports in the world as man. He incarnates Himself as man --- as in the case of Krishna, Rama, and Chaitanya. One needs spiritual practice in order to know God and recognize Divine Incarnations. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
347:In this age Work without devotion to God has no legs to stand upon. It is like a foundation on sand. First cultivate devotion. Work apart from devotion or love of God, is helpless and cannot stand. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
348:It is true that God is even in the tiger, but we must not go and face the animal. So it is true that God dwells even in the most wicked, but it is not meet that we should associate with the wicked. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
349:Love Him. Lord! Can one ever know You by performing yajna without loving You? Pray, cry, weep aloud to Him in a solitary corner so that you may gain such attraction for Him, such love for the Lord. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
350:The aspirant to the true knowledge, if he does not halt in his progress after acquiring certain extraordinary and supernatural powers, becomes in the end rich in the eternal knowledge of the truth. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
351:One who during his contemplation is entirely inconscient of all external things to such a point that if birds made a nest in his hair he would not know it, has acquired the perfection of meditation. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
352:Truth is one; only It is called by different names. All people are seeking the same Truth; the variance is due to climate, temperament, and name. There is only one Rāma and He has a thousand names. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
353:Both worldliness and liberation depend on God's will.It is God alone who has kept man in the world in a state of ignorance; and man will be free when God, of His own sweet will, calls him to Himself. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
354:The nearer you come to God, the less you are disposed to questioning and reasoning. When you actually attain Him, when you behold Him as the Reality, then all noise, all disputations, come to an end. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
355:There is no use in merely making a noise if you want to establish the Deity in the shrine of your heart, if you want to realize God, First of all purify the mind. In the pure heart God takes His seat. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
356:Live in this world like a mudfish. There is nothing wrong in staying at home. The mudfish lives in the mud but is not soiled by it. Similarly, live in this world but never be contaminated by its evils. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
357:One man may read the Bhagavata by the light of a lamp, and another may commit a forgery by that very light; but the lamp is unaffected. The sun sheds its light on the wicked as well as on the virtuous. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
358:SADHAKA: "Sir, what is the way?"MASTER: "Faith in the guru's words. One attains God by following the guru's instructions step by step. It is like reaching an object by following the trail of a thread." ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
359:Whether you accept Radha and Krishna, or not, please do accept their attraction for each other. Try to create that same yearning in your heart for God. Yearning is all you need in order to realize Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
360:The physicians of one class feel the patients and go away, merely prescribing medicine. As they leave the room they simply ask the patient to take the medicine. They are the poorest class of physicians. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
361:As a boy holding to a post or a pillar whirls about it with headlong speed without any fear or falling, so perform your worldly duties, fixing your hold firmly upon God, and you will be free from danger. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
362:How long does godliness remain in man? Iron is red so long as it is in the fire, but it becomes black the moment it is removed from fire. So man is imbued with God so long as he is in communion with Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
363:If a householder is a genuine devotee, he performs his duties without attachment; he surrenders the fruit of his work to God - his gain or loss, his pleasure or pain. Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (Abridged) ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
364:As the shell, the pith and the kernel of the fruit are all produced form one parent seed of the tree, so from the one Lord is produced the whole of creation, animate and inanimate, spiritual and material. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
365:Bhakti is to keep the mind on God by chanting His name and glories.... Bhakti, love of God, is the essence of all spiritual discipline. Through love one acquires renunciation and discrimination naturally. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
366:How shall we conquer the old man in us? When the flower becomes a fruit, the petals fall of themselves; so when the divinity increases in us, all the weaknesses of human nature vanish of their own accord. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
367:Brahman is beyond mind and speech, beyond concentration and meditation, beyond the knower, the known and knowledge, beyond even the conception of the real and unreal. In short, It is beyond all relativity. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
368:Do you know my attitude? Books, scriptures, and things like that only point out the way to reach God. After finding the way, what more need is there of books and scriptures? Then comes the time for action. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
369:It will be very good if you can practice unselfish love for God. A man who has such love says: 'O Lord, I do not seek salvation, fame, wealth, or cure of disease. None of these do I seek. I want only Thee.' ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
370:EgoIf I hold a cloth before me, you cannot see me any more, though I am still as near you as ever. So also though God is nearer to you than anything else, because of the screen of Egotism you cannot see Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
371:O Mother, I pray only that I may have pure love for Thy Lotus Feet, love that seeks no return. And Mother, do not delude me with Thy world-bewitching maya. I seek Thy protection. I have taken refuge in Thee. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
372:The Mother has revealed everything to me. She reveals everything if the devotee cries to Her with a yearning heart. She has shown me everything that is in the Vedas, the Vedanta, the Puranas, and the Tantra. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
373:It is true that God is even in the tiger; but we must not therefore go and face that animal. It is true that God dwells even in the most wicked beings, but it is not proper that we should associate with them. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
374:Right discrimination is of two kinds analytical and synthetical. The first leads one from the phenomena to the Absolute Brahman, while by the second one knows how the Absolute Brahman appears as the universe. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
375:He who is Brahman is none other than Sakti; He who is Purusha has verily become Prakriti. Water is water whether it moves or is still. A snake is a snake whether it wriggles along or stays still and coiled up. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
376:Devotee: “What is the good of holy company?” ~ Sri Ramakrishna: It begets yearning for God. It begets love of God. There is another benefit from holy company. It helps one cultivate discrimination between the Real and the Unreal,
377:Everybody will surely be liberated. But one should follow the instructions of the guru; if one follows a devious path, one will suffer in trying to retrace one's steps. It takes long time to achieve liberation. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
378:It is useless to grow pale ever the holy Scriptures end the sacred Shastras without a spirit of discrimination exempt from all passions. No spiritual progress can be made without discrimination and renunciation ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
379:Blessed indeed is the householder who performs his duties in the world, at the same time cherishing love for the Lotus Feet of God. He is indeed a hero. One cannot lead such a life without great spiritual power. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
380:So long as one does not become simple like a child, one does not get divine illumination. Forget all the worldly knowledge that thou hast acquired and become as a child, and then will thou get the divine wisdom. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
381:When a man becomes pure and perfect, the sweet influence of his character spreads everywhere, and all who seek the Truth are naturally drawn towards him. He need not go in search of an audience to listen to him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
382:If you desire to be pure, have firm faith, and slowly go on with your devotional practices without wasting your energy in useless scriptural discussions and arguments. Your little brain will otherwise be muddled. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
383:The magnetic needle always points to the north, and hence it is that sailing vessel does not lose her direction. So long as the heart of man is directed towards God, he cannot be lost in the ocean of worldliness. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
384:The nearer you approach to God, the less you reason and argue. When you attain Him, then all sounds—all reasoning and disputing—come to an end. Then you go into samadhi—sleep—, into communion with God in silence. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
385:If the devotee practices spiritual discipline a little, the Guru explains everything to him. Then the disciple understands for himself what is real and what is unreal. God alone is real, and the world is illusory. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
386:It is easy to meditate on an Incarnation --- God born as man. Yes, God in man. The body is a mere covering. It is like a lantern with a light burning inside, or like a glass case in which one sees precious things. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
387:Hollow people have no faith. They are always in doubt. As long as you have not realized the Self, doubt doesn’t leave you.Pure love for God is devotion without any desires. You attain Him quickly through this love. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
388:I say to you, dive into the Ocean of Satchidananda. Nothing will ever worry you if you but realize God. There are innumerable pathways leading to the Ocean of Immortality. The essential thing is to reach the Ocean. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
389:Every person I've known has had an effect on me, as have people whom I've not met in the physical in this life, but whom I've met inwardly, teachers from other eras - Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Ramakrishna and Lao Tse. ~ Frederick Lenz,
390:The truth is that you cannot attain God if you have even a trace of desire. Subtle is the way of dharma. If you are trying to thread a needle, you will not succeed if the thread has even a slight fiber sticking out. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
391:One must not cherish any desire whatever. The devotion of a man who has any desire is selfish. But desire less devotion is love for its own sake. You may love me or not, but I love you: this is love for its own sake. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
392:The angler, anxious to hook a big fish, waits calmly for hours together, having thrown the bait and the hook into water. Similarly the devotee who patiently goes on with his devotions is sure at last to find his God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
393:He, who is a devotee of God, must have an understanding, that cannot be shaken under any conditions. He must be like the anvil in a blacksmith's shop. It is constantly being struck by the hammer; still it is unshaken. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
394:The path of bhakti, or zealous love of God. Weep for God in solitude, with a restless soul, and ask Him to reveal Himself to you.Cry to your Mother Syama with a real cry, O mind!And how can She hold Herself from you?" ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
395:The snake itself is not affected by the poison in its fangs ; but when it bites, the poison kills the creature bitten. Likewise Maya is in the Lord but does not affect Him, while the same Maya deludes the whole world. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
396:One should cultivate a taste for God's name. Any name will do - Durga, Krishna, or Siva. Then if, through chanting of the name, one's attachment to God grows day by day, and joy fills the soul, one has nothing to fear. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
397:The insensate enter into the world, seduced by its false splendours. But just as it is easier to get into a net than to escape from it, so is it easier to enter into the world than, having once entered, to renounce it. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
398:There should be such faith in the name of the Lord, ‘I have chanted His name, shall I be a sinner still? What sin for me! What bondage for me! By chanting the name of Bhagavan, the body and mind of man all become pure. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
399:Why does the infant cry after coming out of the womb? ‘I was in the womb, in yoga.’ After taking birth he cries and says, ‘Where, where am I? Where have I come? I was meditating on God’s lotus feet, and now where am I? ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
400:Just as the fly settles now on an unclean sore and now on the sweetmeats offered to the gods, so a worldly man's thoughts stop for a moment on religious subjects and the next stray into the pleasures of luxury and lust. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
401:The more you meditate on God, the less you will be attached to the trifling things of the world. The more you love the Lotus Feet of God, the less you will crave the things of the world or pay heed to creature comforts. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
402:Unless one has tasted the bliss of God, one cannot understand that bliss. Worldly people talk about God only from hearsay. It is not their fault. Can everybody conceive of Indivisible Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute? ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
403:You do need money in worldly life, but you mustn’t be anxious and worry too much about it. You must be content with whatever comes of its own accord – this is very good. Don’t worry too much about saving for the future. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
404:I am asking you not to indulge in futile reasoning. But reason, by all means, about the Real and the unreal, about what is permanent and what is transitory. You must reason when you are overcome by lust, anger, or grief. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
405:"I must attain God in this very life; yea, in three days I must find Him; nay, with a single utterance of His name I will draw Him to me" - with such violent Love the devotee can attract the Lord and realize Him quickly. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
406:One needs Sadhana. Mere study of the scriptures will not do. What will mere study accomplish? How little one assimilates! The almanac may forecast twenty measures of rain; but you don't get a drop by squeezing its pages. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
407:Your duty is to remain somehow united with God. It doesn't matter what kind of action you are engaged in. You can be united with God through any action provided that, performing it, you give up all desire for its result. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
408:God can be realized through all paths, it is like your coming to Dakshineswar by carriage, by boat, by steamer, or on foot. You have chosen the way according to your convenience and taste; but the destination is the same. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
409:He who has really prayed to Sri Ramakrishna, even once, has nothing to fear. By praying to Him constantly one gets ecstatic love through His grace. This ecstatic love, is the innermost thing of spiritual life. ~ Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi,
410:You are still under the control of the Divine Mother. You cannot escape Her. You are not free. You must do what She makes you do. A man attains Brahmajnana only when it is given to him by the Adyasakti, the Divine Mother. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
411:The nearer you come to God, the more you feel peace. Peace, peace, peace — Supreme Peace! The nearer you come to the Ganges, the more you feel its coolness. You will feel completely soothed, when you plunge into the river. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
412:The young bamboo can be easily bent, but the full grown bamboo breaks when it is bent with force. It is easy to bend the young heart towards God, but the untrained heart of the old escapes the hold whenever it is so drawn. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
413:A man can reach God if he follows one path rightly. Then he can learn about all the other paths. A devotee can know everything when God's grace descends on him. If you but realize Him, you will be able to know all about Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
414:He who meditates on God for many days has substance in him, has divine power in him. Further, he who sings well, plays well on a musical instrument, or has mastered anyone art, has in him real substance and the power of God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
415:One cannot completely get rid of the six passions: lust, anger, greed, and the like. Therefore one should direct them to God. If you must have desire and greed, then you should desire love of God and be greedy to attain Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
416:There are some aspirants who do not calculate how much spiritual practice they do. They only weep and call upon Him with great yearning. Hearing their cries, God cannot stay away, but appears before them to grant His vision. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
417:Men insensate enter into the world seduced by a false brilliance. But just as it is easier to enter into a net than to issue out of it, so is it easier to enter into the world than to renounce it when once one has entered in. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
418:If a person feels intoxicated with God’s love, there is no father, no mother, and no wife for him. He may have so much love for the Lord that he may appear to be mad! Such a person has no duties. He is freed from all his debts. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
419:As the troubled surface of rolling waters cannot reflect aright the full moon, but gives only broken images of it, so the mentality troubled by the desires and passions of the world cannot reflect fully the light of the Eternal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
420:Who may be called a paramahamsa? He who, like a swan, can take the milk from a mixture of milk and water, leaving aside the water. He who, like an ant, can take the sugar from a mixture of sugar and sand, leaving aside the sand. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
421:Higher than reading is hearing, higher than hearing is seeing (or Realization). Hearing of wisdom from the lips of the preceptor makes a greater impression than the mere reading of books; but seeing makes the greatest impression. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
422:'Nishta' leads to bhakti; bhakti, when mature, becomes 'bhava'; 'bhava' when concentrated, becomes 'mahabhava'; and last of all is 'prema'. Prema is like a chord; by 'prema' God is bound to the devotee; He can no longer run away. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
423:Q. How can I go through my devotional practices when I have always to think of my daily bread?A. He for whom you work will supply you with your necessaries. God made provisions for your support before He sent you into this world. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
424:When the mind is united with God, one sees God very near. One sees God within one’s own heart. But then it is true that the more one is established in union with God, the greater one’s mind withdraws itself from external objects. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
425:Even as the troubled surface of rolling waters cannot properly reflect the full moon, but only gives broken images of it, so a mind troubled by the desires and passions of the world cannot fully reflect the light of the Ineffable. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
426:God can be realized through all paths. All religions are true. The important thing is to reach the roof. You can reach it by stone stairs or by wooden stairs or by bamboo steps or by a rope. You can also climb up by a bamboo pole. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
427:"In the world a man must fight against passions like lust and anger, against many desires, against attachment. It is convenient to fight from inside a fort - from his own home. Living at home is like facing the battle from a fort. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
428:Live in the world but keep the mind firmly on God. Do your different duties in the world, fixing your mind on God. But practice is necessary, and one should also be alert. Only in this way can one safeguard both―God and the world. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
429:The feeling of 'I ' and 'mine' is ignorance. This feeling, 'I am the doer', is ignorance. On the contrary, the idea, 'O God, Thou art the Doer and I am only an instrument; Thou art the Operator and I am the machine', is Knowledge. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
430:Though my Master should visit the tavern, yet my master shall always be a saint. Though my Master should frequent the impious meeting-place of the drunkards and the sinners, yet shall he be always to me my pure and perfect Master. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
431:That's the one hobby of you people - giving lectures and bringing others to the light! Nobody ever stops to consider how to get the light himself. Who are you to teach others? He who is the Lord of the Universe will teach everyone. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
432:You may quote thousands of arguments from Vedanta philosophy to a true lover of God, and try to explain the world as a dream, but you cannot shake his devotion to God. In spite of all your efforts he will come back to his devotion. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
433:If you must have desire and greed, then you should desire love of God and be greedy to attain Him. If you must be conceited and egotistic, then feel conceited and egotistic thinking that you are the servant of God, the child of God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
434:Numerous are the names of the Ineffable and infinite the forms which lead towards Him. Under whatever name or in whatever form you desire to enter into relation with him, it is in that form and under that name that you will see Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
435:Too much study of the scriptures does more harm than good. The important thing is to know the essence of the scriptures. After that, what is the need of books? One should learn the essence and then dive deep in order to realize God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
436:Meditate upon the Knowledge and the Bliss Eternal, and you will have bliss. The Bliss is indeed eternal, only it is covered and obscured by ignorance. The less your attachment to the sense-objects, the more will be your love for God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
437:You see many stars in the sky at night, but not when the sun rises. Can you therefore say that there are no stars in the heavens during the day? Because you cannot find God in the days of your ignorance, say not that there is no God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
438:One should not think, 'My religion alone is the right path and other religions are false.' God can be realized by means of all paths. It is enough to have sincere yearning for God. Infinite are the paths and infinite are the opinions. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
439:So long as one has not become-as simple as a child, one cannot expect the divine illumination. Forget all the knowledge of the world that you have acquired and become as ignorant as a child; then you shall attain to the divine wisdom. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
440:The Knowledge of Brahman is the goal. Devotion is meant to maintain the external aspect of life. The elephant has outer tusks and inner grinders as well. The tusks are mere ornaments; but the elephant chews its food with the grinders. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
441:The soiled mirror reflects never the sunbeams, and the unclean and impure heart which is subjected to Maya, can never perceive the glory of the Eternal. But the pure in heart sees the Eternal, even as the clear mirror reflects the sun. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
442:There is no sin in disobeying one's superiors for the sake of God. Bharata disobeyed Kaikeyi for the sake of Rama. The Gopis disobeyed their husbands for the sake of seeing Krishna, and Prahlada disobeyed his father for the sake of God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
443:All will surely realize God. All will be liberated. It may be that some get their meal in the morning, some at noon, and some in the evening; but none will go without food. All, without any exception, will certainly know their real Self. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
444:God talked to me. It was not merely His vision. Yes, He talked to me. Under the banyan-tree I saw Him coming from the Ganges. Then we laughed so much! By way of playing with me He cracked my fingers. Then He talked. Yes, He talked to me. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
445:Do you think these sannyasi children of Sri Ramakrishna are born to simply to sit under trees lighting dhuni-fires? Whenever any of them will take up some work, people will be astonished to see their energy. Learn from them how to work. ~ Swami Vivekananda,
446:If a man does not read with an intense desire to know the truth renouncing for its sake all that is vain and frivolous and even that which is essential if needs be, mere reading will only inspire him with pedantry, presumption and egoism. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
447:Just as a fly settles now on an unclean sore in the body, now on the offerings consecrated to the gods, so the mind of a worldly man stops for a moment upon religious ideas, but the next it strays away to the pleasures of luxury and lust. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
448:Through spiritual practices man can overcome his evil tendencies, and divine grace can redeem even the worst sinner. Therefore one should not brood over the past mistakes, but should develop a positive outlook on life by depending on God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
449:You tell me that even in Europe educated men become mad by thinking constantly of one subject. But how is it possible to lose one's intelligence and become mad by thinking of that Intelligence by which the whole world is made intelligent? ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
450:A man does not have to suffer any more if God, in His grace, removes his doubts and reveals Himself to Him. But this grace descends upon him only after he has prayed to God with intense yearning of heart and practiced spiritual discipline. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
451:When the water of the fetid pool and the glorious Ganges shall appear to thy eyes as one, when the Sound of the flute and the clamour of this crowd shall have no longer any difference to thy ear, then shalt thou attain to the divine Wisdom, ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
452:You see many stars in the sky at night, but not when the sun rises. Can you therefore say that there are no stars in the heavens during the day? O man, because you cannot find God in the days of your ignorance, say not that there is no God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
453:1. Is anything impossible for the grace of God? Suppose you bring a light into a room that has been dark a thousand years; does it remove the darkness little by little? The room is lighted all at once. Intense renunciation is what is needed. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
454:How long do small girls play with their dolls? As long as they are not married and do not live with their husbands. After marriage they put the dolls away in a box. What further need is there of worshipping the image after the vision of God? ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
455:Meditate upon the Knowledge and Bliss Eternal , and you will also have bliss. The Bliss indeed is eternal, only it is covered and obscured by ignorance. The less your attachment is towards the senses, the more will be your love towards God . ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
456:The man whose soul aspires to the Eternal cannot give thought to such silly questions as that of daivic food, that is to say, a simple vegetarian diet, and for him who does not desire to attain to the Eternal, beef is as good as daivic food. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
457:What is the nature of absolute reliance on God ? It is like that happy state of relaxation felt by a fatigued worker when, reclining on a pillow, he smokes at leisure after a day's hard work. It is the cessation of all anxieties and worries. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
458:You speak of doing good to the world. Is the world such a small thing? And who are you, pray, to do good to the world? First realise God, see Him by means of spiritual discipline. If He imparts power you can do good to others; otherwise not. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
459:A man, who spends his time in discussing the good and the bad qualities of others simply wastes his own time. For it is time spent neither in thinking about one's own self nor about the Supreme Self, but in fruitless thinking of others selves. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
460:My son, there is no rest for me. That which Sri Ramakrishna called "Kali" took possession of my body and soul three or four days before his passing away. That makes me work and work and never lets me keep still or look to my personal comfort. ~ Swami Vivekananda,
461:The Vedantins say that the Atman is completely unattached. Sin or virtue, pain or pleasure, cannot affect it; but they can inflict sufferings on those who have attachment to the body. The smoke can soil the walls, but can do nothing to the sky. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
462:Know thyself and thou shalt know the Non-ego and the Lord of all. Meditate deeply, thou shalt find there is nothing thou canst call “I”. The innermost result of all analysis is the eternal divine. When egoism vanishes, divinity manifests itself. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
463:“To him who is perfect in meditation salvation is near” is an old saying. Do you know when a man is perfect in meditation? When as soon as he sits to meditate, he is surrounded with the divine atmosphere and his soul communes with the Ineffable. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
464:One's spiritual consciousness is not awakened by the mere reading of books. One should also pray to God. The kundalini is aroused if the aspirant feels restless for God. To talk of knowledge from mere study and hearsay! What will that accomplish? ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
465:Prayer and the company of holy men. You cannot get rid of an ailment without the help of a physician. But it is not enough to be in the company of religious people only for a day. You should constantly seek it, for the disease has become chronic. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
466:I ask people to live in the world after the awakening of their spiritual consciousness. I ask people to live in the world in a spirit of detachment. If you break the jack-fruit after rubbing oil on your hands, its sticky juice will not smear them. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
467:Once the seed of bhakti is sown, the effect is inevitable: it will gradually grow into a tree with flowers and fruits. You may reason and argue a thousand times, but if you have the seed of bhakti within you, you will surely come back to the Lord. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
468:When mind and speech unite in earnestly asking for a thing, that prayer is answered. Of no avail are the prayers of that man who says with his mouth, "These are all yours, O Lord!" and at the same time thinks in his heart that all of them are his. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
469:A man thinks of God, no doubt, but he has no faith in Him. Again and again he forgets God and becomes attached to the world. It is like giving the elephant a bath; afterwards he covers his body with mud and dirt again. 'The mind is a mad elephant.' ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
470:Intense dispassion is essential to attain God. You must renounce immediately what you think is an obstacle in your way to God. ‘Lust and greed’ are hurdles on the way. You must take your mind off them. It will not do to lack enthusiasm or diligence. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
471:Devote yourself to spiritual practice and go forward. Through practice you will advance more and more in the path of God. At last you will come to know that God alone is real and all else is illusory, and that the goal of life is the attainment of God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
472:You people speak of doing good to the world. Is the world such a small thing ? And who are u, pray, to do good to the world ? First realize God, see Him by means of spiritual discipline. If He imparts power, then u can do good to others; otherwise not. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
473:Devote yourself to spiritual practice & go forward. Through practice you will advance more & more in the path of God. At last you will come to know that God alone is real and all else is illusory, and that the goal of life is the attainment of God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
474:Spirituality automatically leads to humility. When a flower develops into a fruit, the petals drop off on its own. When one becomes spiritual, the ego vanishes gradually on its own. A tree laden with fruits always bends low. Humility is a sign of greatness. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
475:You can’t enjoy the Bliss of God, without first getting rid of animal tendencies. You should pray to God to rid you of these inclinations & you must pray with yearning. He is the controller of our hearts and will surely listen, if the prayer is earnest. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
476:Devote yourself to spiritual practice & go forward. Through practice you will advance more & more in the path of God. At last you will come to know that God alone is real and all else is illusory, & that the goal of life is the attainment of God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
477:Now, stopping thought is only the beginning. As Brahmananda, who was a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, once remarked: The inner life begins with samadhi. This is an awesome thought, I realize, for the average person who meditates, that it could begin with samadhi. ~ Frederick Lenz,
478:It matters not if you live the life of a house-holder, only you must fix your mind on God. Do your work with one hand, and hold the feet of the Lord with the other. When you have no work in the world to do, hold His feet fast to your heart with both your hands. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
479:Imagine a limitless expanse of water: above and below, before and behind, right and left, everywhere there is water. In that water is placed a jar filled with water. There is water inside the jar and water outside, but the jar is still there. The 'I' is the jar. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
480:The Self is not attached to anything. Pleasure, pain, sinfulness, righteousness, etc., can never affect the Self in any way; but they can affect those who identify themselves with the body, as smoke can blacken only the wall but not the space enclosed within it. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
481:The waves belong to the Ganges, not the Ganges to the waves. A man cannot realize God unless he gets rid of all such egotistic ideas as "I am such an important man" or "I am so and so". Level the mound of "I" to the ground by dissolving it with tears of devotion. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
482:These people are like ... a frog living in a well, who has never seen the outside world. He knows only his well, so he will not believe that there is such a thing as the world. Likewise, people talk so much about the world because they have not known the joy of God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
483:Those whose spiritual awareness has been awakened never make a false move. They don't have to avoid evil. They are so replete with love that whatever they do is a good action. They are fully conscious that they are not the doer of their actions, but only servants of God. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
484:Visit not the doers of miracles. They have wandered from the path of the truth; they have allowed their minds to be caught in the snare of psychical powers which are so many temptations on the path of the pilgrims to the Brahman. Beware of such powers and do not desire them. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
485:It is very pleasant to scratch an itching ring-worm, but the sensation one gets afterwards is very painful and intolerable. In the same way the pleasures of this world are very attractive in the beginning, but their consequences are terrible to contemplate and hard to endure. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
486:Men are like pillow-cases. The colour of one may be red, that of another blue, and that of the third black; but all contain the same cotton within. So it is with man; one is beautiful, another is ugly, a third holy, and a fourth wicked; but the Divine Being dwells in them all. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
487:Sunlight is one and the same wherever it falls; but only a bright surface like that of water, or of a mirror reflects it fully. So is the light Divine. It falls equally and impartially on all hearts, but the pure and pious hearts of holy men receive and reflect that light well. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
488:With sincerity and earnestness one can realize God through all religions. The Vaishnavas will realize God, and so will the Saktas, the Vedantists, and the Brahmos. The Mussalmans and Christians will realize Him too. All will certainly realize God if they are earnest and sincere. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
489:If you feel proud, let it be in the thought that you are the servant of God, the son of God. Great men have the nature of a child. They are always a child before Him; so they are free from pride. All their strength is of God and not their own. It belongs to Him and comes from Him. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
490:Many people think they cannot have knowledge or understanding of God without reading books. But hearing is better than reading, and seeing is better than hearing. Hearing about Benares is different from reading about it; but seeing Benares is different from either hearing or reading. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
491:The ordinary man says in his ignorance “My religion is the sole religion, my religion is the best.” But when his heart is illumined by the true knowledge, he knows that beyond all the battles of sects and of sectaries presides the one, indivisible, eternal and omniscient Benediction. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
492:Having attained to that unalterable calm which nothing can trouble one can afterwards meditate and form an assured judgment on the essence of things; when one has meditated and formed a sure judgment on the essence of things, afterwards one can attain to the desired state of perfection. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
493:The ordinary man says in his ignorance, "My religion is the sole religion, my religion is the best." But when his heart is illuminated by the true knowledge, he knows that beyond all the battles of sects and of sectaries presides the one, indivisible, eternal and omnipresent Benediction. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
494:As for myself, I look upon all women as my Mother. This is a very pure attitude of mind. There is no risk or danger in it. To look upon a woman as one's sister is also not bad. But the other attitudes are very difficult and dangerous. It is almost impossible to keep to the purity of the ideal. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
495:Only two kinds of people can attain self-knowledge: those who are not encumbered at all with learning, that is to say, whose minds are not over-crowded with thoughts borrowed from others; and those who, after studying all the scriptures and sciences, have come to realise that they know nothing. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
496:When I see the chaste women of respectable families, I see in them the Divine clothed in the robe of a chaste woman; and again, when I see the public women of the city seated on their verandahs in their rajment of immorality and shame, I see also in them the Divine at play after another fashion. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
497:Work, my children, work with your whole heart and soul! That is the thing. Mind not the fruit of work. What if you go to hell working for others? That is worth more than to gain heaven by seeking your own salvation... Sri Ramakrishna came and gave his life for the world. I will also sacrifice my life. ~ Swami Vivekananda,
498:God has revealed to me that only the Paramatman, whom the Vedas describe as the Pure Soul, is as immutable as Mount Sumeru, unattached, and beyond pain and pleasure. There is much confusion in this world of His maya. One can by no means say that 'this' will come after 'that' or 'this' will produce 'that'. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
499:A devotee who can call on God while living a householder's life is a hero indeed. God thinks: 'He is blessed indeed who prays to me in the midst of his worldly duties. He is trying to find me, overcoming a great obstacle -- pushing away, as it were, a huge block of stone weighing a ton. Such a man is a real hero. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
500:When an unbaked pot is broken, the potter can use the mud to make a new one; but when a baked one is broken, he cannot do the same any longer. So when a person dies in a state of ignorance, he is born again; but when he becomes well baked in the fire of true knowledge and dies a perfect man, he is not born again. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,

--- IN CHAPTERS (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



24

   1 Philosophy


   2 Sri Ramakrishna


   8 Talks
   7 Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
   2 The Hero with a Thousand Faces


1.00_-_Gospel, #Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, #Sri Ramakrishna, #Hinduism
  
  Sri Ramakrishna, the God-man of modern India, was born at Kmrpukur. This village in the Hooghly District preserved during the last century the idyllic simplicity of the rural areas of Bengl. Situated far from the railway, it was untouched by the glamour of the city. It contained rice-fields, tall palms, royal banyans, a few lakes, and two cremation grounds. South of the village a stream took its leisurely course. A mango orchard dedicated by a neighbouring zamindr to the public use was frequented by the boys for their noonday sports. A highway passed through the village to the great temple of Jagannth at Puri, and the villagers, most of whom were farmers and craftsmen, entertained many passing holy men and pilgrims. The dull round of the rural life was broken by lively festivals, the observance of sacred days, religious singing, and other innocent pleasures.
  
  About his parents Sri Ramakrishna once said: "My mother was the personification of rectitude and gentleness. She did not know much about the ways of the world; innocent of the art of concealment, she would say what was in her mind. People loved her for open-heartedness. My father, an orthodox brhmin, never accepted gifts from the udrs. He spent much of his time in worship and meditation, and in repeating God's name and chanting His glories. Whenever in his daily prayers he invoked the Goddess Gyatri, his chest flushed and tears rolled down his cheeks. He spent his leisure hours making garlands for the Family Deity, Raghuvir."
  
  Khudirm Chattopdhyya and Chandra Devi, the parents of Sri Ramakrishna, were married in 1799. At that time Khudirm was living in his ancestral village of Derepore, not far from Kmrpukur. Their first son, Rmkumr, was born in 1805, and their first daughter, Ktyyani, in 1810. In 1814 Khudirm was ordered by his landlord to bear false witness in court against a neighbour. When he refused to do so, the landlord brought a false case against him and deprived him of his ancestral property. Thus dispossessed, he arrived, at the invitation of another landlord, in the quiet village of Kmrpukur, where he was given a dwelling and about an acre of fertile land. The crops from this little property were enough to meet his family's simple needs. Here he lived in simplicity, dignity, and contentment.
  
  --
  
  The temple garden stands directly on the east bank of the Ganges. The northern section of the land and a portion to the east contain an orchard, flower gardens, and two small reservoirs. The southern section is paved with brick and mortar. The visitor arriving by boat ascends the steps of an imposing bathing-Ght, which leads to the Chndni, a roofed terrace, on either side of which stand in a row six temples of iva. East of the terrace and the iva temples is a large court, paved, rectangular in shape, and running north and south. Two temples stand in the centre of this court, the larger one, to the south and facing south, being dedicated to Kli, and the smaller one, facing the Ganges, to Radhknta, that is, Krishna, the Consort of Rdh. Nine domes with spires surmount the temple of Kli, and before it stands the spacious Natmandir, or music hall, the terrace of which is supported by stately pillars. At the northwest and southwest corners of the temple compound are two Nahabats, or music towers, from which music flows at different times of day, especially at sunup, noon, and sundown, when the worship is performed in the temples. Three sides of the paved courtyard -all except the west - are lined with rooms set apart for kitchens, store-rooms, dining-rooms, and quarters for the temple staff and guests. The chamber in the northwest angle, just beyond the last of the iva temples, is of special interest to us; for here Sri Ramakrishna was to spend a considerable part of his life. To the west of this chamber is a semicircular porch overlooking the river. In front of the porch runs a footpath, north and south, and beyond the path is a large garden and, below the garden, the Ganges. The orchard to the north of the buildings contains the Panchavati, the banyan, and the bel-tree, associated with Sri Ramakrishna's spiritual practices. Outside and to the north of the temple compound proper is the Kuthi, or bungalow, used by members of Rni Rsmani's family visiting the garden. And north of the temple garden, separated from it by a high wall, is a powder-magazine belonging to the British Government.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna - henceforth we shall call Gaddhar by this familiar name - came to the temple garden with his elder brother Rmkumr, who was appointed priest of the Ka1i temple. Sri Ramakrishna did not at first approve of Rmkumr's working for the udr
  
  Rsmani. The example of their orthodox father was still fresh in Sri Ramakrishna's mind.
  
  He objected also to the eating of the cooked offerings of the temple, since, according to orthodox Hindu custom, such food can be offered to the Deity only in the house of a brhmin. But the holy atmosphere of the temple grounds, the solitude of the surrounding wood, the loving care of his brother, the respect shown him by Rni Rsmani and Mathur Bbu, the living presence of the Goddess Kli in the temple, and, above all, the proximity of the sacred Ganges, which Sri Ramakrishna always held in the highest respect, gradually overcame his disapproval, and he began to feel at home.
  
  Within a very short time Sri Ramakrishna attracted the notice of Mathur Bbu, who was impressed by the young man's religious fervour and wanted him to participate in the worship in the Kli temple. But Sri Ramakrishna loved his freedom and was indifferent to any worldly career. The profession of the priesthood in a temple founded by a rich woman did not appeal to his mind. Further, he hesitated to take upon himself the responsibility for the ornaments and jewellery of the temple. Mathur had to wait for a suitable occasion.
  
  At this time there came to Dakshinewar a youth of sixteen, destined to play an important role in Sri Ramakrishna's life. Hriday, a distant nephew of Sri Ramakrishna, hailed from Sihore, a village not far from Kmrpukur, and had been his boyhood friend.
  
  Clever, exceptionally energetic, and endowed with great presence of mind, he moved, as will be seen later, like a shadow about his uncle and was always ready to help him, even at the sacrifice of his personal comfort. He was destined to be a mute witness of many of the spiritual experiences of Sri Ramakrishna and the caretaker of his body during the stormy days of his spiritual practice. Hriday came to Dakshinewar in search of a job, and Sri Ramakrishna was glad to see him.
  
  Unable to resist the persuasion of Mathur Bbu, Sri Ramakrishna at last entered the temple service, on condition that Hriday should be asked to assist him. His first duty was to dress and decorate the image of Kli.
  
  One day the priest of the Radhknta temple accidentally dropped the image of Krishna on the floor, breaking one of its legs. The pundits advised the Rni to install a new image, since the worship of an image with a broken limb was against the scriptural injunctions. But the Rni was fond of the image, and she asked Sri Ramakrishna's opinion. In an abstracted mood, he said: "This solution is ridiculous. If a son-in-law of the Rni broke his leg, would she discard him and put another in his place? Wouldn't she rather arrange for his treatment? Why should she not do the same thing in this case too?
  
  Let the image be repaired and worshipped as before." It was a simple, straightforward solution and was accepted by the Rni. Sri Ramakrishna himself mended the break. The priest was dismissed for his carelessness, and at Mathur Bbu's earnest request, Sri Ramakrishna accepted the Office of priest in the Radhknta temple.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna as a priest
  
  Born in an orthodox brhmin family, Sri Ramakrishna knew the formalities of worship, its rites and rituals. The innumerable gods and goddesses of the Hindu religion are the human aspects of the indescribable and incomprehensible Spirit, as conceived by the finite human mind. They understand and appreciate human love and emotion, help men to realize their secular and spiritual ideals, and ultimately enable men to attain liberation from the miseries of phenomenal life. The Source of light, intelligence, wisdom, and strength is the One alone from whom comes the fulfilment of desire. Yet, as long as a man is bound by his human limitations, he cannot but worship God through human forms. He must use human symbols. Therefore Hinduism asks the devotees to look on God as the ideal father, the ideal mother, the ideal husband, the ideal son, or the ideal friend. But the name ultimately leads to the Nameless, the form to the Formless, the word to the Silence, the emotion to the serene realization of Peace in Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute. The gods gradually merge in the one God. But until that realization is achieved, the devotee cannot dissociate human factors from his worship.
  
  --
  
  Hindu priests are thoroughly acquainted with the rites of worship, but few of them are aware of their underlying significance. They move their hands and limbs mechanically, in obedience to the letter of the scriptures, and repeat the holy mantras like parrots. But from the very beginning the inner meaning of these rites was revealed to Sri Ramakrishna. As he sat facing the image, a strange transformation came over his mind.
  
  --
  
  Rmkumr wanted Sri Ramakrishna to learn the intricate rituals of the worship of Kli.
  
  To become a priest of Kli one must undergo a special form of initiation from a qualified guru, and for Sri Ramakrishna a suitable brhmin was found. But no sooner did the brhmin speak the holy word in his ear than Sri Ramakrishna, overwhelmed with emotion, uttered a loud cry and plunged into deep concentration.
  
  Mathur begged Sri Ramakrishna to take charge of the worship in the Kli temple. The young priest pleaded his incompetence and his ignorance of the scriptures. Mathur insisted that devotion and sincerity would more than compensate for any lack of formal knowledge and make the Divine Mother manifest Herself through the image. In the end, Sri Ramakrishna had to yield to Mathur's request. He became the priest of Kli.
  
  In 1856 Rmkumr breathed his last. Sri Ramakrishna had already witnessed more than one death in the family. He had come to realize how impermanent is life on earth. The more he was convinced of the transitory nature of worldly things, the more eager he became to realize God, the Fountain of Immortality.
  
  --
  
  But is not the Ultimate Reality above holiness and unholiness? She appears to be reeling under the spell of wine. But who would create this mad world unless under the influence of a divine drunkenness? She is the highest symbol of all the forces of nature, the synthesis of their antinomies, the Ultimate Divine in the form of woman. She now became to Sri Ramakrishna the only Reality, and the world became an unsubstantial shadow. Into Her worship he poured his soul. Before him She stood as the transparent portal to the shrine of Ineffable Reality.
  
  The worship in the temple intensified Sri Ramakrishna's yearning for a living vision of the Mother of the Universe. He began to spend in meditation the time not actually employed in the temple service; and for this purpose he selected an extremely solitary place. A deep jungle, thick with underbrush and prickly plants, lay to the north of the temples.
  
  Used at one time as a burial ground, it was shunned by people even during the day-time for fear of ghosts. There Sri Ramakrishna began to spend the whole night in meditation, returning to his room only in the morning with eyes swollen as though from much weeping. While meditating, he would lay aside his cloth and his brhminical thread.
  
  --
  
  As his love for God deepened, he began either to forget or to drop the formalities of worship. Sitting before the image, he would spend hours singing the devotional songs of great devotees of the Mother, such as Kamalknta and Rmprasd. Those rhapsodical songs, describing the direct vision of God, only intensified Sri Ramakrishna's longing. He felt the pangs of a child separated from its mother. Sometimes, in agony, he would rub his face against the ground and weep so bitterly that people, thinking he had lost his earthly mother, would sympathize with him in his grief. Sometimes, in moments of scepticism, he would cry: "Art Thou true, Mother, or is it all fiction - mere poetry without any reality? If Thou dost exist, why do I not see Thee? Is religion a mere fantasy and art Thou only a figment of man's imagination?" Sometimes he would sit on the prayer carpet for two hours like an inert object. He began to behave in an abnormal manner, most of the time unconscious of the world. He almost gave up food; and sleep left him altogether.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna felt an unquenchable desire to enjoy God in various ways. For his meditation he built a place in the northern wooded section of the temple garden. With Hriday's help he planted there five sacred trees. The spot, known as the Panchavati, became the scene of many of his visions.
  
  --
  
  He was profoundly moved by the young priest's devotion and sincerity. He realized that Sri Ramakrishna had transformed the stone image into the living Goddess.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna one day fed a cat with the food that was to be offered to Kli. This was too much for the manager of the temple garden, who considered himself responsible for the proper conduct of the worship. He reported Sri Ramakrishna's insane behaviour to Mathur Bbu.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna has described the incident: "The Divine Mother revealed to me in the Kli temple that it was She who had become everything. She showed me that everything was full of Consciousness. The image was Consciousness, the altar was Consciousness, the water-vessels were Consciousness, the door-sill was Consciousness, the marble floor was Consciousness - all was Consciousness. I found everything inside the room soaked, as it were, in Bliss - the Bliss of God. I saw a wicked man in front of the Kli temple; but in him also I saw the power of the Divine Mother vibrating. That was why I fed a cat with the food that was to be offered to the Divine Mother. I clearly perceived that all this was the Divine Mother - even the cat. The manager of the temple garden wrote to Mathur Bbu saying that I was feeding the cat with the offering intended for the Divine Mother.
  
  --
  
  One of the painful ailments from which Sri Ramakrishna suffered at this time was a burning sensation in his body, and he was cured by a strange vision. During worship in the temple, following the scriptural injunctions, he would imagine the presence of the "sinner" in himself and the destruction of this "sinner". One day he was meditating in the Panchavati, when he saw come out of him a red-eyed man of black complexion, reeling like a drunkard. Soon there emerged from him another person, of serene countenance, wearing the ochre cloth of a sannysi and carrying in his hand a trident. The second person attacked the first and killed him with the trident. Thereafter Sri Ramakrishna was free of his pain.
  
  --
  
  Mathur had faith in the sincerity of Sri Ramakrishna's spiritual zeal, but began now to doubt his sanity. He had watched him jumping about like a monkey. One day, when Rni Rsmani was listening to Sri Ramakrishna's singing in the temple, the young priest abruptly turned and slapped her. Apparently listening to his song, she had actually been thinking of a lawsuit. She accepted the punishment as though the Divine Mother Herself had imposed it; but Mathur was distressed. He begged Sri Ramakrishna to keep his feelings under control and to heed the conventions of society. God Himself, he argued, follows laws. God never permitted, for instance, flowers of two colours to grow on the same stalk. The following day Sri Ramakrishna presented Mathur Bbu with two hibiscus flowers growing on the same stalk, one red and one white.
  
  Mathur and Rni Rsmani began to ascribe the mental ailment of Sri Ramakrishna in part, at least, to his observance of rigid continence. Thinking that a natural life would relax the tension of his nerves, they engineered a plan with two women of ill fame. But as soon as the women entered his room, Sri Ramakrishna beheld in them the manifestation of the Divine Mother of the Universe and went into Samdhi uttering Her name.
  
  --
  
  In 1858 there came to Dakshinewar a cousin of Sri Ramakrishna, Haladhri by name, who was to remain there about eight years. On account of Sri Ramakrishna's indifferent health, Mathur appointed this man to the office of priest in the Kli temple. He was a complex character, versed in the letter of the scriptures, but hardly aware of their spirit.
  
  He loved to participate in hair-splitting theological discussions and, by the measure of his own erudition, he proceeded to gauge Sri Ramakrishna. An orthodox brhmin, he thoroughly disapproved of his cousin's unorthodox actions, but he was not unimpressed by Sri Ramakrishna's purity of life, ecstatic love of God, and yearning for realization.
  
  One day Haladhri upset Sri Ramakrishna with the statement that God is incomprehensible to the human mind. Sri Ramakrishna has described the great moment of doubt when he wondered whether his visions had really misled him: "With sobs I prayed to the Mother, 'Canst Thou have the heart to deceive me like this because I am a fool?' A stream of tears flowed from my eyes. Shortly afterwards I saw a volume of mist rising from the floor and filling the space before me. In the midst of it there appeared a face with flowing beard, calm, highly expressive, and fair. Fixing its gaze steadily upon me, it said solemnly, 'Remain in Bhva-mukha, on the threshold of relative consciousness.' This it repeated three times and then it gently disappeared in the mist, which itself dissolved. This vision reassured me."
  
  A garbled report of Sri Ramakrishna's failing health, indifference to worldly life, and various abnormal activities reached Kmrpukur and filled the heart of his poor mother with anguish. At her repeated request he returned to his village for a change of air. But his boyhood friends did not interest him any more. A divine fever was consuming him.
  
  --
  
  Saradmani, a little girl of five, lived in the neighbouring village called Jayrmbti. Even at this age she had been praying to God to make her character as stainless and fragrant as the white tuberose. Looking at the full moon, she would say: "O God, there are dark spots even on the moon. But make my character spotless." It was she who was selected as the bride for Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  But in this case the marriage remained for ever unconsummated. Sri Ramakrishna lived at Kmrpukur about a year and a half and then returned to Dakshinewar.
  
  --
  
  He saw the sannysi who had previously killed the "sinner" in him again coming out of his body, threatening him with the trident, and ordering him to concentrate on God. Or the same sannysi would visit distant places, following a luminous path, and bring him reports of what was happening there. Sri Ramakrishna used to say later that in the case of an advanced devotee the mind itself becomes the guru, living and moving like an embodied being.
  
  Rni Rsmani, the foundress of the temple garden, passed away in 1861. After her death her son-in-law Mathur became the sole executor of the estate. He placed himself and his resources at the disposal of Sri Ramakrishna and began to look after his physical comfort. Sri Ramakrishna later spoke of him as one of his five "suppliers of stores"
  
  --
  
  There came to Dakshinewar at this time a brhmin woman who was to play an important part in Sri Ramakrishna's spiritual unfoldment. Born in East Bengl, she was an adept in the Tntrik and Vaishnava methods of worship. She was slightly over fifty years of age, handsome, and garbed in the orange robe of a nun. Her sole possessions were a few books and two pieces of wearing-cloth.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna welcomed the visitor with great respect, described to her his experiences and visions, and told her of people's belief that these were symptoms of madness. She listened to him attentively and said: "My son, everyone in this world is mad. Some are mad for money, some for creature comforts, some for name and fame; and you are mad for God." She assured him that he was passing through the almost unknown spiritual experience described in the scriptures as Mah-bhva, the most exalted rapture of divine love. She told him that this extreme exaltation had been described as manifesting itself through nineteen physical symptoms, including the shedding of tears, a tremor of the body, horripilation, perspiration, and a burning sensation. The Bhakti scriptures, she declared, had recorded only two instances of the experience, namely, those of Sri Rdh and Sri Chaitanya.
  
  Very soon a tender relationship sprang up between Sri Ramakrishna and the Brhmani, she looking upon him as the Baby Krishna, and he upon her as mother. Day after day, she watched his ecstasy during the kirtan and meditation, his Samdhi, his mad yearning; and she recognized in him a power to transmit spirituality to others. She came to the conclusion that such things were not possible for an ordinary devotee, not even for a highly developed soul. Only an Incarnation of God was capable of such spiritual manifestations. She proclaimed openly that Sri Ramakrishna, like Sri Chaitanya, was an Incarnation of God.
  
  When Sri Ramakrishna told Mathur what the Brhmani had said about him, Mathur shook his head in doubt. He was reluctant to accept him as an Incarnation of God, an Avatar comparable to Rm, Krishna, Buddha, and Chaitanya, though he admitted Sri Ramakrishna's extraordinary spirituality. Whereupon the Brhmani asked Mathur to arrange a conference of scholars who should discuss the matter with her. He agreed to the proposal and the meeting was arranged. It was to be held in the Natmandir in front of the Kli temple.
  
  Two famous pundits of the time were invited: Vaishnavcharan, the leader of the Vaishnava society, and Gauri. The first to arrive was Vaishnavcharan, with a distinguished company of scholars and devotees. The Brhmani, like a proud mother, proclaimed her view before him and supported it with quotations from the scriptures. As the pundits discussed the deep theological question, Sri Ramakrishna, perfectly indifferent to everything happening around him, sat in their midst like a child, immersed in his own thoughts, sometimes smiling, sometimes chewing a pinch of spices from a pouch, or again saying to Vaishnavcharan with a nudge: "Look here. Sometimes I feel like this, too." Presently Vaishnavcharan arose to declare himself in total agreement with the view of the Brhmani. He declared that Sri Ramakrishna had undoubtedly experienced Mah-bhva and that this was the certain sign of the rare manifestation of God in a man. The people assembled there, especially the officers of the temple garden, were struck dumb. Sri Ramakrishna said to Mathur, like a boy: "Just fancy, he too says so! Well, I am glad to learn that, after all, it is not a disease."
  
  When, a few days later, Pundit Gauri arrived, another meeting was held, and he agreed with the view of the Brhmani and Vaishnavcharan. To Sri Ramakrishna's remark that Vaishnavcharan had declared him to be an Avatr, Gauri replied: "Is that all he has to say about you? Then he has said very little. I am fully convinced that you are that Mine of Spiritual Power, only a small fraction of which descends on earth, from time to time, in the form of an Incarnation."
  
  "Ah!" said Sri Ramakrishna with a smile, "You seem to have quite outbid Vaishnavcharan in this matter. What have you found in me that makes you entertain such an idea?"
  
  --
  
  "Well," Sri Ramakrishna said, "it is you who say so; but, believe me, I know nothing about it."
  
  Thus, the insane priest was, by verdict of the great scholars of the day, proclaimed a Divine Incarnation. His visions were not the result of an over heated brain; they had precedent in spiritual history. And how did the proclamation affect Sri Ramakrishna himself? He remained the simple child of the Mother that he had been since the first day of his life. Years later, when two of his householder disciples openly spoke of him as a Divine Incarnation and the matter was reported to him, he said with a touch of sarcasm: "Do they think they will enhance my glory that way? One of them is an actor on the stage and the other a physician. What do they know about Incarnations? Why years ago pundits like Gauri and Vaishnavcharan declared me to be an Avatar. They were great scholars and knew what they said. But that did not make any change in my mind."
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was a learner all his life. He often used to quote a proverb to his disciples: "Friend, the more I live the more I learn." When the excitement created by the Brhmani's declaration was over, he set himself to the task of practising spiritual disciplines according to the traditional methods laid down in the Tantra and Vaishnava scriptures. Hitherto he had pursued his spiritual ideal according to the promptings of his own mind and heart. Now he accepted the Brhmani as his guru and set foot on the traditional highways.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna set himself to the task of practising the disciplines of Tantra; and at the bidding of the Divine Mother Herself he accepted the Brhmani as his guru. He performed profound and delicate ceremonies in the Panchavati and under the bel-tree at the northern extremity of the temple compound. He practised all the disciplines of the sixty-four principal Tantra books, and it took him never more than three days to achieve the result promised in any one of them. After the observance of a few preliminary rites, he would be overwhelmed with a strange divine fervour and would go into Samdhi, where his mind would dwell in exaltation. Evil ceased to exist for him. The word "carnal"
  
  --
  
  After completing the Tntrik sdhana Sri Ramakrishna followed the Brhmani in the disciplines of Vaishnavism. The Vaishnavas are worshippers of Vishnu, the "All-pervading", the Supreme God, who is also known as Hari and Nryana. Of Vishnu's various Incarnations the two with the largest number of followers are Rm and Krishna.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna, as the monkey Hanumn, had already worshipped God as his Master.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna, much impressed with his devotion, requested Jatdhri to spend a few days at Dakshinewar. Soon Ramll became the favourite companion of Sri Ramakrishna too. Later on he described to the devotees how the little image would dance gracefully before him, jump on his back, insist on being taken in his arms, run to the fields in the sun, pluck flowers from the bushes, and play pranks like a naughty boy.
  
  --
  
  One day Jatdhri requested Sri Ramakrishna to keep the image and bade him adieu with tearful eyes. He declared that Ramll had fulfilled his innermost prayer and that he now had no more need of formal worship. A few days later Sri Ramakrishna was blessed through Ramll with a vision of Rmachandra, whereby he realized that the Rm of the Ramayana, the son of Daaratha, pervades the whole universe as Spirit and Consciousness; that He is its Creator, Sustainer, and Destroyer; that, in still another aspect, He is the transcendental Brahman, without form, attribute, or name.
  
  While worshipping Ramll as the Divine Child, Sri Ramakrishna's heart became filled with motherly tenderness, and he began to regard himself as a woman. His speech and gestures changed. He began to move freely with the ladies of Mathur's family, who now looked upon him as one of their own sex. During this time he worshipped the Divine Mother as Her companion or handmaid.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna now devoted himself to scaling the most inaccessible and dizzy heights of dualistic worship, namely, the complete union with Sri Krishna as the Beloved of the heart. He regarded himself as one of the gopis of Vrindvan, mad with longing for her divine Sweetheart. At his request Mathur provided him with woman's dress and jewellery. In this love pursuit, food and drink were forgotten. Day and night he wept bitterly. The yearning turned into a mad frenzy; for the divine Krishna began to play with him the old tricks He had played with the gopis. He would tease and taunt, now and then revealing Himself, but always keeping at a distance. Sri Ramakrishna's anguish brought on a return of the old physical symptoms: the burning sensation, an oozing of blood through the pores, a loosening of the joints, and the stopping of physiological functions.
  
  --
  
  Now one with Rdh, he manifested the great ecstatic love, the Mah-bhva which had found in her its fullest expression. Later Sri Ramakrishna said: "The manifestation in the same individual of the nineteen different kinds of emotion for God is called, in the books on bhakti, Mah-bhva. An ordinary man takes a whole lifetime to express even a single one of these. But in this body [meaning himself] there has been a complete manifestation of all nineteen."
  
  The love of Rdh is the precursor of the resplendent vision of Sri Krishna, and Sri Ramakrishna soon experienced that vision. The enchanting form of Krishna appeared to him and merged in his person. He became Krishna; he totally forgot his own individuality and the world; he saw Krishna in himself and in the universe. Thus he attained to the fulfilment of the worship of the Personal God. He drank from the fountain of Immortal Bliss. The agony of his heart vanished forever. He realized Amrita, Immortality, beyond the shadow of death.
  
  --
  
  The Brhmani was the enthusiastic teacher and astonished beholder of Sri Ramakrishna in his spiritual progress. She became proud of the achievements of her unique pupil. But the pupil himself was not permitted to rest; his destiny beckoned him forward. His Divine Mother would allow him no respite till he had left behind the entire realm of duality with its visions, experiences, and ecstatic dreams. But for the new ascent the old tender guides would not suffice. The Brhmani, on whom he had depended for three years saw her son escape from her to follow the command of a teacher with masculine strength, a sterner mien, a gnarled physique, and a virile voice. The new guru was a wandering monk, the sturdy Totpuri, whom Sri Ramakrishna learnt to address affectionately as Nangta, the "Naked One", because of his total renunciation of all earthly objects and attachments, including even a piece of wearing-cloth.
  
  Totpuri was the bearer of a philosophy new to Sri Ramakrishna, the non-dualistic Vednta philosophy, whose conclusions Totpuri had experienced in his own life. This ancient Hindu system designates the Ultimate Reality as Brahman, also described as Satchidnanda, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute. Brahman is the only Real Existence.
  
  --
  
  Totpuri, discovering at once that Sri Ramakrishna was prepared to be a student of Vednta, asked to initiate him into its mysteries. With the permission of the Divine Mother, Sri Ramakrishna agreed to the proposal. But Totpuri explained that only a sannysi could receive the teaching of Vednta. Sri Ramakrishna agreed to renounce the world, but with the stipulation that the ceremony of his initiation into the monastic order be performed in secret, to spare the feelings of his old mother, who had been living with him at Dakshinewar.
  
  On the appointed day, in the small hours of the morning, a fire was lighted in the Panchavati. Totpuri and Sri Ramakrishna sat before it. The flame played on their faces.
  
  --
  
  In the burning flame before him Sri Ramakrishna performed the rituals of destroying his attachment to relatives, friends, body, mind, sense-organs, ego, and the world. The leaping flame swallowed it all, making the initiate free and pure. The sacred thread and the tuft of hair were consigned to the fire, completing his severance from caste, sex, and society. Last of all he burnt in that fire, with all that is holy as his witness, his desire for enjoyment here and hereafter. He uttered the sacred mantras giving assurance of safety and fearlessness to all beings, who were only manifestations of his own Self. The rites completed, the disciple received from the guru the loincloth and ochre robe, the emblems of his new life.
  
  The teacher and the disciple repaired to the meditation room near by. Totpuri began to impart to Sri Ramakrishna the great truths of Vednta. "Brahman", he said, "is the only Reality, ever pure, ever illumined, ever free, beyond the limits of time, space, and causation. Though apparently divided by names and forms through the inscrutable power of My, that enchantress who makes the impossible possible, Brahman is really One and undivided. When a seeker merges in the beatitude of Samdhi, he does not perceive time and space or name and form, the offspring of My. Whatever is within the domain of My is unreal. Give it up. Destroy the prison-house of name and form and rush out of it with the strength of a lion. Dive deep in search of the Self and realize It through Samdhi. You will find the world of name and form vanishing into void, and the puny ego dissolving in Brahman-Consciousness. You will realize your identity with Brahman, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute." Quoting the Upanishad, Totpuri said "That knowledge is shallow by which one sees or hears or knows another. What is shallow is worthless and can never give real felicity. But the Knowledge by which one does not see another or hear another or know another, which is beyond duality, is great, and through such Knowledge one attains the Infinite Bliss. How can the mind and senses grasp That which shines in the heart of all as the Eternal Subject?"
  
  Totpuri asked the disciple to withdraw his mind from all objects of relative world, including the gods and goddesses, and to concentrate on the Absolute. But the task was not easy even for Sri Ramakrishna. He found it impossible to take his mind beyond Kli, the Divine Mother of the Universe. "After the initiation", Sri Ramakrishna once said, describing the event, "Nangta began to teach me the various conclusions of the Advaita Vednta and asked me to withdraw the mind completely from all objects and dive deep into the tman. But in spite of all my attempts I could not altogether cross the realm of name and form and bring my mind to the unconditioned state. I had no difficulty in taking the mind from all the objects of the world. But the radiant and too familiar figure of the Blissful Mother, the Embodiment of the essence of Pure Consciousness, appeared before me as a living reality. Her bewitching smile prevented me from passing into the Great Beyond. Again and again I tried, but She stood in my way every time. In despair I said to Nangta: 'It is hopeless. I cannot raise my mind to the unconditioned state and come face to face with tman.' He grew excited and sharply said: 'What? You can't do it?
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna remained completely absorbed in Samdhi for three days. "Is it really true?" Totpuri cried out in astonishment. "Is it possible that he has attained in a single day what it took me forty years of strenuous practice to achieve? Great God! It is nothing short of a miracle!" With the help of Totpuri, Sri Ramakrishna's mind finally came down to the relative Plane.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna, on the other hand, though fully aware, like his guru, that the world is an illusory appearance, instead of slighting My, like an orthodox monist, acknowledged its power in the relative life. He was all love and reverence for My, perceiving in it a mysterious and majestic expression of Divinity. To him My itself was God, for everything was God. It was one of the faces of Brahman. What he had realized on the heights of the transcendental plane, he also found here below, everywhere about him, under the mysterious garb of names and forms. And this garb was a perfectly transparent sheath, through which he recognized the glory of the Divine Immanence.
  
  --
  
  Thus, after Nirvikalpa Samdhi, Sri Ramakrishna realized My in an altogether new role. The binding aspect of Kli vanished from before his vision. She no longer obscured his understanding. The world became the glorious manifestation of the Divine Mother.
  
  My became Brahman. The Transcendental Itself broke through the Immanent. Sri Ramakrishna discovered that My operates in the relative world in two ways, and he termed these "Avidy-My" and "Vidy-My". Avidy-My represents the dark forces of creation: sensuous desires, evil passions, greed, lust, cruelty, and so on. It sustains the world system on the lower planes. It is responsible for the round of man's birth and death. It must be fought and vanquished. But Vidy-My is the higher force of creation: the spiritual virtues, the enlightening qualities, kindness, purity, love, devotion.
  
  --
  
  The Divine Mother asked Sri Ramakrishna not to be lost in the featureless Absolute but to remain in Bhva-mukha, on the threshold of relative consciousness, the border line between the Absolute and the Relative. He was to keep himself at the "sixth centre" of Tantra, from which he could see not only the glory of the seventh, but also the divine manifestations of the Kundalini in the lower centres. He gently oscillated back and forth across the dividing line. Ecstatic devotion to the Divine Mother alternated with serene absorption in the Ocean of Absolute Unity. He thus bridged the gulf between the Personal and the Impersonal, the immanent and the transcendent aspects of Reality.
  
  --
  
  From Sri Ramakrishna Totpuri had to learn the significance of Kli, the Great Fact of the relative world, and of My, Her indescribable Power.
  
  One day, when guru and disciple were engaged in an animated discussion about Vednta, a servant of the temple garden came there and took a coal from the sacred fire that had been lighted by the great ascetic. He wanted it to light his tobacco. Totpuri flew into a rage and was about to beat the man. Sri Ramakrishna rocked with laughter.
  
  --
  
  Totpuri returned to Dakshinewar and spent the remaining hours of the night meditating on the Divine Mother. In the morning he went to the Kli temple with Sri Ramakrishna and prostrated himself before the image of the Mother. He now realized why he had spent eleven months at Dakshinewar. Bidding farewell to the disciple, he continued on his way, enlightened.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna later described the significance of Totpuri's lessons: "When I think of the Supreme Being as inactive - neither creating nor preserving nor destroying -, I call Him Brahman or Purusha, the Impersonal God. When I think of Him as active - creating, preserving, and destroying -, I call Him akti or My or Prakriti, the Personal God. But the distinction between them does not mean a difference. The Personal and the Impersonal are the same thing, like milk and its whiteness, the diamond and its lustre, the snake and its wriggling motion. It is impossible to conceive of the one without the other. The Divine Mother and Brahman are one."
  
  After the departure of Totpuri, Sri Ramakrishna remained for six months in a state of absolute identity with Brahman. "For six months at a stretch", he said, "I remained in that state from which ordinary men can never return; generally the body falls off, after three weeks, like a sere leaf. I was not conscious of day and night. Flies would enter my mouth and nostrils just as they do a dead body's, but I did not feel them. My hair became matted with dust."
  
  His body would not have survived but for the kindly attention of a monk who happened to be at Dakshinewar at that time and who somehow realized that for the good of humanity Sri Ramakrishna's body must be preserved. He tried various means, even physical violence, to recall the fleeing soul to the prison-house of the body, and during the resultant fleeting moments of consciousness he would push a few morsels of food down Sri Ramakrishna's throat. Presently Sri Ramakrishna received the command of the Divine Mother to remain on the threshold of relative consciousness. Soon thereafter he was afflicted with a serious attack of dysentery. Day and night the pain tortured him, and his mind gradually came down to the physical plane.
  
  --
  
  From now on Sri Ramakrishna began to seek the company of devotees and holy men. He had gone through the storm and stress of spiritual disciplines and visions. Now he realized an inner calmness and appeared to others as a normal person. But he could not bear the company of worldly people or listen to their talk. Fortunately the holy atmosphere of Dakshinewar and the liberality of Mathur attracted monks and holy men from all parts of the country. Sdhus of all denominations - monists and dualists, Vaishnavas and Vedntists, kts and worshippers of Rm - flocked there in ever increasing numbers. Ascetics and visionaries came to seek Sri Ramakrishna's advice.
  
  Vaishnavas had come during the period of his Vaishnava sdhana, and Tntriks when he practised the disciplines of Tantra. Vedntists began to arrive after the departure of Totpuri. In the room of Sri Ramakrishna, who was then in bed with dysentery, the Vedntists engaged in scriptural discussions, and, forgetting his own physical suffering, he solved their doubts by referring directly to his own experiences. Many of the visitors were genuine spiritual souls, the unseen pillars of Hinduism, and their spiritual lives were quickened in no small measure by the sage of Dakshinewar. Sri Ramakrishna in turn learnt from them anecdotes concerning the ways and the conduct of holy men, which he subsequently narrated to his devotees and disciples. At his request Mathur provided him with large stores of foodstuffs, clothes, and so forth, for distribution among the wandering monks.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had not read books, yet he possessed an encyclopaedic knowledge of religions and religious philosophies. This he acquired from his contacts with innumerable holy men and scholars. He had a unique power of assimilation; through meditation he made this knowledge a part of his being. Once, when he was asked by a disciple about the source of his seemingly inexhaustible knowledge, he replied: "I have not read; but I have heard the learned. I have made a garland of their knowledge, wearing it round my neck, and I have given it as an offering at the feet of the Mother."
  
  Sri Ramakrishna used to say that when the flower blooms the bees come to it for honey of their own accord. Now many souls began to visit Dakshinewar to satisfy their spiritual hunger. He, the devotee and aspirant, became the Master. Gauri, the great scholar who had been one of the first to proclaim Sri Ramakrishna an Incarnation of God, paid the Master a visit in 1870 and with the Master's blessings renounced the world. Nryan stri, another great pundit, who had mastered the six systems of Hindu philosophy and had been offered a lucrative post by the Maharaja of Jaipur, met the Master and recognized in him one who had realized in life those ideals which he himself had encountered merely in books. Sri Ramakrishna initiated Nryan astri, at his earnest request, into the life of sannys. Pundit Padmalochan, the court pundit of the Maharaja of Burdwan, well known for his scholarship in both the Vednta and the Nyya systems of philosophy, accepted the Master as an Incarnation of God. Krishnakishore, a Vedantist scholar, became devoted to the Master. And there arrived Viwanth Updhyya, who was to become a favourite devotee; Sri Ramakrishna always addressed him as "Captain". He was a high officer of the King of Nepal and had received the title of Colonel in recognition of his merit. A scholar of the Gita, the Bhgavata, and the Vednta philosophy, he daily performed the worship of his Chosen Deity with great devotion. "I have read the Vedas and the other scriptures", he said. "I have also met a good many monks and devotees in different places. But it is in Sri Ramakrishna's presence that my spiritual yearnings have been fulfilled. To me he seems to be the embodiment of the truths of the scriptures."
  
  The Knowledge of Brahman in nirvikalpa Samdhi had convinced Sri Ramakrishna that the gods of the different religions are but so many readings of the Absolute, and that the Ultimate Reality could never be expressed by human tongue. He understood that all religions lead their devotees by differing paths to one and the same goal. Now he became eager to explore some of the alien religions; for with him understanding meant actual experience.
  
  --
  
  His prayers took the form of the Islamic devotions. He forgot the Hindu gods and goddesses - even Kli - and gave up visiting the temples. He took up his residence outside the temple precincts. After three days he saw the vision of a radiant figure, perhaps Mohammed. This figure gently approached him and finally lost himself in Sri Ramakrishna. Thus he realized the Mussalman God. Thence he passed into communion with Brahman. The mighty river of Islam also led him back to the Ocean of the Absolute.
  
  --
  
  Eight years later, some time in November 1874, Sri Ramakrishna was seized with an irresistible desire to learn the truth of the Christian religion. He began to listen to readings from the Bible, by ambhu Charan Mallick, a gentleman of Calcutta and a devotee of the Master. Sri Ramakrishna became fascinated by the life and teachings of Jesus. One day he was seated in the parlour of Jadu Mallick's garden house at Dakshinewar, when his eyes became fixed on a painting of the Madonna and Child.
  
  --
  
  The effect of this experience was stronger than that of the vision of Mohammed. In dismay he cried out, "O Mother! What are You doing to me?" And, breaking through the barriers of creed and religion, he entered a new realm of ecstasy. Christ possessed his soul. For three days he did not set foot in the Kli temple. On the fourth day, in the afternoon, as he was walking in the Panchavati, he saw coming toward him a person with beautiful large eyes, serene countenance, and fair skin. As the two faced each other, a voice rang out in the depths of Sri Ramakrishna's soul: "Behold the Christ who shed His heart's blood for the redemption of the world, who suffered a sea of anguish for love of men. It is He, the Master Yogi, who is in eternal union with God. It is Jesus, Love Incarnate." The Son of Man embraced the Son of the Divine Mother and merged in him.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna realized his identity with Christ, as he had already realized his identity with Kli, Rm, Hanuman, Rdh, Krishna, Brahman, and Mohammed. The Master went into Samdhi and communed with the Brahman with attributes. Thus he experienced the truth that Christianity, too, was a path leading to God-Consciousness. Till the last moment of his life he believed that Christ was an Incarnation of God. But Christ, for him, was not the only Incarnation; there were others - Buddha, for instance, and Krishna.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna accepted the divinity of Buddha and used to point out the similarity of his teachings to those of the Upanishads. He also showed great respect for the Tirthankars, who founded Jainism, and for the ten Gurus of Sikhism. But he did not speak of them as Divine Incarnations. He was heard to say that the Gurus of Sikhism were the reincarnations of King Janaka of ancient India. He kept in his room at Dakshinewar a small statue of Tirthankara Mahvira and a picture of Christ, before which incense was burnt morning and evening.
  
  Without being formally initiated into their doctrines, Sri Ramakrishna thus realized the ideals of religions other than Hinduism. He did not need to follow any doctrine. All barriers were removed by his overwhelming love of God. So he became a Master who could speak with authority regarding the ideas and ideals of the various religions of the world. "I have practised", said he, "all religions - Hinduism, Islam, Christianity - and I have also followed the paths of the different Hindu sects. I have found that it is the same God toward whom all are directing their steps, though along different paths. You must try all beliefs and traverse all the different ways once. Wherever I look, I see men quarrelling in the name of religion - Hindus, Mohammedans, Brahmos, Vaishnavs, and the rest. But they never reflect that He who is called Krishna is also called iva, and bears the name of the Primal Energy, Jesus, and Allah as well - the same Rm with a thousand names. A lake has several G hts. At one, the Hindus take water in pitchers and call it 'Jal' ; at another the Mussalmans take water in leather bags and call it 'pni' . At a third the Christians call it 'water' . Can we imagine that it is not 'jal', but only 'pni' or 'water'? How ridiculous! The substance is One under different names, and everyone is seeking the same substance; only climate, temperament, and name create differences.
  
  --
  
  In 1867, Sri Ramakrishna returned to Kmrpukur to recuperate from the effect of his austerities. The peaceful countryside, the simple and artless companions of his boyhood, and the pure air did him much good. The villagers were happy to get back their playful, frank, witty, kind-hearted, and truthful Gaddhar, though they did not fail to notice the great change that had come over him during his years in Calcutta. His wife, Srad Devi, now fourteen years old, soon arrived at Kmrpukur. Her spiritual development was much beyond her age and she was able to understand immediately her husband's state of mind. She became eager to learn from him about God and to live with him as his attendant. The Master accepted her cheerfully both as his disciple and as his spiritual companion. Referring to the experiences of these few days, she once said: "I used to feel always as if a pitcher full of bliss were placed in my heart. The joy was indescribable."
  
  --
  
  Whereupon Mathur had to yield. On another occasion, two years later, Sri Ramakrishna showed a similar sentiment for the poor and needy. He accompanied Mathur on a tour to one of the latter's estates at the time of the collection of rents. For two years the harvests had failed and the tenants were in a state of extreme poverty. The Master asked Mathur to remit their rents, distribute help to them, and in addition give the hungry people a sumptuous feast. When Mathur grumbled, the Master said: "You are only the steward of the Divine Mother. They are the Mother's tenants. You must spend the Mother's money. When they are suffering, how can you refuse to help them? You must help them." Again Mathur had to give in. Sri Ramakrishna's sympathy for the poor sprang from his perception of God in all created beings. His sentiment was not that of the humanist or philanthropist. To him the service of man was the same as the worship of God.
  
  The party entered holy Banras by boat along the Ganges. When Sri Ramakrishna's eyes fell on this city of iva, where had accumulated for ages the devotion and piety of countless worshippers, he saw it to be made of gold, as the scriptures declare. He was visibly moved. During his stay in the city he treated every particle of its earth with utmost respect. At the Manikarnik Ght, the great cremation ground of the city, he actually saw iva, with ash-covered body and tawny matted hair, serenely approaching each funeral pyre and breathing into the ears of the corpses the mantra of liberation; and then the Divine Mother removing from the dead their bonds. Thus he realized the significance of the scriptural statement that anyone dying in Banras attains salvation through the grace of iva. He paid a visit to Trailanga Swmi, the celebrated monk, whom he later declared to be a real paramahamsa, a veritable image of iva.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna visited Allahbad, at the confluence of the Ganges and the Jamuna, and then proceeded to Vrindvan and Mathura, hallowed by the legends, songs, and dramas about Krishna and the gopis. Here he had numerous visions and his heart overflowed with divine emotion. He wept and said: "O Krishna! Everything here is as it was in the olden days. You alone are absent." He visited the great woman saint Gangmyi, regarded by Vaishnava devotees as the reincarnation of an intimate attendant of Rdh.
  
  She was sixty years old and had frequent trances. She spoke of Sri Ramakrishna as an incarnation of Rdh. With great difficulty he was persuaded to leave her.
  
  On the return journey Mathur wanted to visit Gay, but Sri Ramakrishna declined to go.
  
  --
  
  In 1870 the Master went on a pilgrimage to Nadia, the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya. As the boat by which he travelled approached the sand-bank close to Nadia, Sri Ramakrishna had a vision of the "two brothers", Sri Chaitanya and his companion Nitynanda, "bright as molten gold" and with haloes, rushing to greet him with uplifted hands. "There they come! There they come!" he cried. They entered his body and he went into a deep trance.
  
  --
  
  Totpuri, coming to know of the Master's marriage, had once remarked: "What does it matter? He alone is firmly established in the Knowledge of Brahman who can adhere to his spirit of discrimination and renunciation even while living with his wife. He alone has attained the supreme illumination who can look on man and woman alike as Brahman. A man with the idea of sex may be a good aspirant, but he is still far from the goal." Sri Ramakrishna and his wife lived together at Dakshinewar, but their minds always soared above the worldly plane. A few months after Srad Devi's arrival Sri Ramakrishna arranged, on an auspicious day, a special worship of Kli, the Divine Mother. Instead of an image of the Deity, he placed on the seat the living image, Srad Devi herself. The worshipper and the worshipped went into deep Samdhi and in the transcendental plane their souls were united. After several hours Sri Ramakrishna came down again to the relative plane, sang a hymn to the Great Goddess, and surrendered, at the feet of the living image, himself, his rosary, and the fruit of his lifelong sdhana. This is known in Tantra as the Shodasi Puja, the "Adoration of Woman". Sri Ramakrishna realized the significance of the great statement of the Upanishad: "O Lord, Thou art the woman, Thou art the man; Thou art the boy, Thou art the girl; Thou art the old, tottering on their crutches. Thou pervadest the universe in its multiple forms."
  
  By his marriage Sri Ramakrishna admitted the great value of marriage in man's spiritual evolution, and by adhering to his monastic vows he demonstrated the imperative necessity of self-control, purity, and continence, in the realization of God. By his unique spiritual relationship with his wife he proved that husband and wife can live together as spiritual companions. Thus his life is a synthesis of the ways of life of the householder and the monk.
  
  --
  
  In the nirvikalpa Samdhi Sri Ramakrishna had realized that Brahman alone is real and the world illusory. By keeping his mind six months on the plane of the non-dual Brahman, he had attained to the state of the Vijnani, the Knower of Truth in a special and very rich sense, who sees Brahman not only in himself and in the transcendental Absolute, but in everything of the world. In this state of Vijnna, sometimes, bereft of body-consciousness, he would regard himself as one with Brahman; sometimes, conscious of the dual world, he would regard himself as God's devotee, servant, or child.
  
  --
  
  ego. The ego of the bound soul identifies itself with the body, relatives, possessions, and the world; but the "ripe ego", illumined by Divine Knowledge, knows the body, relatives, possessions, and the world to be unreal and establishes a relationship of love with God alone. Through this "ripe ego" Sri Ramakrishna dealt with the world and his wife. One day, while stroking his feet, Srad Devi asked the Master, "What do you think of me?"
  
  --
  
  We have now come to the end of Sri Ramakrishna's sdhana, the period of his spiritual discipline. As a result of his supersensuous experiences he reached certain conclusions regarding himself and spirituality in general. His conclusions about himself may be summarised as follows:
  
  --
  
  Third, Sri Ramakrishna realized the wish of the Divine Mother that through him She should found a new Order, consisting of those who would uphold the universal doctrines illustrated in his life.
  
  --
  
  During this period Sri Ramakrishna suffered several bereavements. The first was the death of a nephew named, Akshay. After the young man's death Sri Ramakrishna said: "Akshay died before my very eyes. But it did not affect me in the least. I stood by and watched a man die. It was like a sword being drawn from its scabbard. I enjoyed the scene, and laughed and sang and danced over it. They removed the body and cremated it. But the next day as I stood there (pointing to the southeast verandah of his room), I felt a racking pain for the loss of Akshay, as if somebody were squeezing my heart like a wet towel. I wondered at it and thought that the Mother was teaching me a lesson. I was not much concerned even with my own body - much less with a relative. But if such was my pain at the loss of a nephew, how much more must be the grief of the householders at the loss of their near and dear ones!" In 1871 Mathur died, and some five years later ambhu Mallick - who, after Mathur's passing away, had taken care of the Master's comfort. In 1873 died his elder brother Rmewar, and in 1876, his beloved mother.
  
  These bereavements left their imprint on the tender human heart of Sri Ramakrishna albeit he had realized the immortality of the soul and the illusoriness of birth and death.
  
  In March 1875, about a year before the death of his mother, the Master met Keshab Chandra Sen. The meeting was a momentous event for both Sri Ramakrishna and Keshab. Here the Master for the first time came into actual contact with a worthy representative of modern India.
  
  --
  
  Keshab possessed a complex nature. When passing through a great moral crisis, he spent much of his time in solitude and felt that he heard the voice of God. When a devotional form of worship was introduced into the Brhmo Samj, he spent hours in singing kirtan with his followers. He visited England in 1870 and impressed the English people with his musical voice, his simple English, and his spiritual fervour. He was entertained by Queen Victoria. Returning to India, he founded centres of the Brhmo Samj in various parts of the country. Not unlike a professor of comparative religion in a European university, he began to discover, about the time of his first contact with Sri Ramakrishna, the harmony of religions. He became sympathetic toward the Hindu gods and goddesses, explaining them in a liberal fashion. Further, he believed that he was called by God to dictate to the world God's newly revealed law, the New Dispensation, the Navavidhn.
  
  In 1878 a schism divided Keshab's Samj. Some of his influential followers accused him of infringing the Brhmo principles by marrying his daughter to a wealthy man before she had attained the marriageable age approved by the Samj. This group seceded and established the Sdhran Brhmo Samj, Keshab remaining the leader of the Navavidhn. Keshab now began to be drawn more and more toward the Christ ideal, though under the influence of Sri Ramakrishna his devotion to the Divine Mother also deepened. His mental oscillation between Christ and the Divine Mother of Hinduism found no position of rest. In Bengl and some other parts of India the Brhmo movement took the form of Unitarian Christianity, scoffed at Hindu rituals, and preached a crusade against image worship. Influenced by Western culture, it declared the supremacy of reason, advocated the ideals of the French Revolution, abolished the caste-system among, its own members, stood for the emancipation of women, agitate for the abolition of early marriage, sanctioned the remarriage of widows, and encouraged various educational and social-reform movements. The immediate effect of the Brhmo movement in Bengl was the checking of the proselytising activities of the Christian missionaries. It also raised Indian culture in the estimation of its English masters. But it was an intellectual and eclectic religious ferment born of the necessity of the time. Unlike Hinduism, it was not founded on the deep inner experiences of sages and prophets. Its influence was confined to a comparatively few educated men and women of the country, and the vast masses of the Hindus remained outside it. It sounded monotonously only one of the notes in the rich gamut of the Eternal Religion of the Hindus.
  
  --
  
  Swmi Daynanda (1824-1883) launched this movement in Bombay in 1875, and soon its influence was felt throughout western India. The Swmi was a great scholar of the Vedas, which he explained as being strictly monotheistic. He preached against the worship of images and re-established the ancient Vedic sacrificial rites. According to him the Vedas were the ultimate authority on religion, and he accepted every word of them as literally true. The rya Samj became a bulwark against the encroachments of Islam and Christianity, and its orthodox flavour appealed to many Hindu minds. It also assumed leadership in many movements of social reform. The caste-system became a target of its attack. Women it liberated from many of their social disabilities. The cause of education received from it a great impetus. It started agitation against early marriage and advocated the remarriage of Hindu widows. Its influence was strongest in the Punjab, the battle-ground of the Hindu and Islamic cultures. A new fighting attitude was introduced into the slumbering Hindu society. Unlike the Brhmo Samj, the influence of the rya Samj was not confined to the intellectuals. It was a force that spread to the masses. It was a dogmatic movement intolerant of those disagreed with its views, and it emphasized only one way, the rya Samj way, to the realization of Truth. Sri Ramakrishna met Swmi Daynanda when the latter visited Bengl.
  
  --
  
  Keshab Chandra Sen and Sri Ramakrishna met for the first time in the garden house of Jaygopl Sen at Belgharia, a few miles from Dakshinewar, where the great Brhmo leader was staying with some of his disciples. In many respects the two were poles apart, though an irresistible inner attraction was to make them intimate friends. The Master had realized God as Pure Spirit and Consciousness, but he believed in the various forms of God as well. Keshab, on the other hand, regarded image worship as idolatry and gave allegorical explanations of the Hindu deities. Keshab was an orator and a writer of books and magazine articles; Sri Ramakrishna had a horror of lecturing and hardly knew how to write his own name. Keshab's fame spread far and wide, even reaching the distant shores of England; the Master still led a secluded life in the village of Dakshinewar. Keshab emphasized social reforms for India's regeneration; to Sri Ramakrishna God-realization was the only goal of life. Keshab considered himself a disciple of Christ and accepted in a diluted form the Christian sacraments and Trinity; Sri Ramakrishna was the simple child of Kli, the Divine Mother, though he too, in a different way, acknowledged Christ's divinity. Keshab was a householder and took a real interest in the welfare of his children, whereas Sri Ramakrishna was a paramahamsa and completely indifferent to the life of the world. Yet, as their acquaintance ripened into friendship, Sri Ramakrishna and Keshab held each other in great love and respect. Years later, at the news of Keshab's death, the Master felt as if half his body had become paralysed. Keshab's concepts of the harmony of religions and the Motherhood of God were deepened and enriched by his contact with Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna, dressed in a red-bordered dhoti, one end of which was carelessly thrown over his left shoulder, came to Jaygopal's garden house accompanied by Hriday.
  
  No one took notice of the unostentatious visitor. Finally the Master said to Keshab, "People tell me you have seen God; so I have come to hear from you about God." A magnificent conversation followed. The Master sang a thrilling song about Kli and forthwith went into Samdhi. When Hriday uttered the sacred "Om" in his ears, he gradually came back to consciousness of the world, his face still radiating a divine brilliance. Keshab and his followers were amazed. The contrast between Sri Ramakrishna and the Brhmo devotees was very interesting. There sat this small man, thin and extremely delicate. His eyes were illumined with an inner light. Good humour gleamed in his eyes and lurked in the corners of his mouth. His speech was Bengli of a homely kind with a slight, delightful stammer, and his words held men enthralled by their wealth of spiritual experience, their inexhaustible store of simile and metaphor, their power of observation, their bright and subtle humour, their wonderful catholicity, their ceaseless flow of wisdom. And around him now were the sophisticated men of Bengl, the best products of Western education, with Keshab, the idol of young Bengl, as their leader.
  
  Keshab's sincerity was enough for Sri Ramakrishna. Henceforth the two saw each other frequently, either at Dakshinewar or at the temple of the Brhmo Samj. Whenever the Master was in the temple at the time of divine service, Keshab would request him to speak to the congregation. And Keshab would visit the saint, in his turn, with offerings of flowers and fruits.
  
  --
  
  Gradually other Brhmo leaders began to feel Sri Ramakrishna's influence. But they were by no means uncritical admirers of the Master. They particularly disapproved of his ascetic renunciation and condemnation of, "woman and gold".7 They measured him according to their own ideals of the householder's life. Some could not understand his Samdhi and described it as a nervous malady. Yet they could not resist his magnetic personality.
  
  --
  
  ivanth, one day, was greatly impressed by the Master's utter simplicity and abhorrence of praise. He was seated with Sri Ramakrishna in the latter's room when several rich men of Calcutta arrived. The Master left the room for a few minutes. In the mean time Hriday, his nephew, began to describe his Samdhi to the visitors. The last few words caught the Master's ear as he entered the room. He said to Hriday: "What a mean-spirited fellow you must be to extol me thus before these rich men! You have seen their costly apparel and their gold watches and chains, and your object is to get from them as much money as you can. What do I care about what they think of me? (Turning to the gentlemen) No, my friends, what he has told you about me is not true. It was not love of God that made me absorbed in God and indifferent to external life. I became positively insane for some time. The sdhus who frequented this temple told me to practise many things. I tried to follow them, and the consequence was that my austerities drove me to insanity." This is a quotation from one of ivanth's books. He took the Master's words literally and failed to see their real import.
  
  --
  
  Pratp Chandra Mazumdr, the right-hand man of Keshab and an accomplished Brhmo preacher in Europe and America, bitterly criticized Sri Ramakrishna's use of uncultured language and also his austere attitude toward his wife. But he could not escape the spell of the Master's personality. In the course of an article about Sri Ramakrishna, Pratp wrote in the "Theistic Quarterly Review": "What is there in common between him and me? I, a Europeanized, civilized, self-centered, semi-sceptical, so-called educated reasoner, and he, a poor, illiterate, unpolished, half-idolatrous, friendless Hindu devotee?
  
  --
  
  The Brhmo leaders received much inspiration from their contact with Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  This contact with the educated and progressive Benglis opened Sri Ramakrishna's eyes to a new realm of thought. Born and brought up in a simple village, without any formal education, and taught by the orthodox holy men of India in religious life, he had had no opportunity to study the influence of modernism on the thoughts and lives of the Hindus.
  
  He could not properly estimate the result of the impact of Western education on Indian culture. He was a Hindu of the Hindus, renunciation being to him the only means to the realization of God in life. From the Brahmos he learnt that the new generation of India made a compromise between God and the world. Educated young men were influenced more by the Western philosophers than by their own prophets. But Sri Ramakrishna was not dismayed, for he saw in this, too, the hand of God. And though he expounded to the Brahmos all his ideas about God and austere religious disciplines, yet he bade them accept from his teachings only as much as suited their tastes and temperaments.
  
  --
  
  Contact with the Brahmos increased Sri Ramakrishna's longing to encounter aspirants who would be able to follow his teachings in their purest form. "There was no limit", he once declared, "to the longing I felt at that time. During the day-time I somehow managed to control it. The secular talk of the worldly-minded was galling to me, and I would look wistfully to the day when my own beloved companions would come. I hoped to find solace in conversing with them and relating to them my own realizations. Every little incident would remind me of them, and thoughts of them wholly engrossed me. I was already arranging in my mind what I should say to one and give to another, and so on. But when the day would come to a close I would not be able to curb my feelings. The thought that another day had gone by, and they had not come, oppressed me. When, during the evening service, the temples rang with the sound of bells and conchshells, I would climb to the roof of the Kuthi in the garden and, writhing in anguish of heart, cry at the top of my voice: 'Come, my children! Oh, where are you? I cannot bear to live without you.' A mother never longed so intensely for the sight of her child, nor a friend for his companions, nor a lover for his sweetheart, as I longed for them. Oh, it was indescribable! Shortly after this period of yearning the devotees began to come."
  
  In the year 1879 occasional writings about Sri Ramakrishna by the Brahmos, in the Brhmo magazines, began to attract his future disciples from the educated middle-class Benglis, and they continued to come till 1884. But others, too, came, feeling the subtle power of his attraction. They were an ever shifting crowd of people of all castes and creeds: Hindus and Brahmos, Vaishnavas and kts, the educated with university degrees and the illiterate, old and young, maharajas and beggars, journalists and artists, pundits and devotees, philosophers and the worldly-minded, jnnis and yogis, men of action and men of faith, virtuous women and prostitutes, office-holders and vagabonds, philanthropists and self-seekers, dramatists and drunkards, builders-up and pullers-down. He gave to them all, without stint, from his illimitable store of realization. No one went away empty-handed. He taught them the lofty knowledge of the Vednta and the soul-melting love of the Purn. Twenty hours out of twenty-four he would speak without rest or respite. He gave to all his sympathy and enlightenment, and he touched them with that strange power of the soul which could not but melt even the most hardened. And people understood him according to their powers of comprehension.
  
  --
  
  For the householders Sri Ramakrishna did not prescribe the hard path of total renunciation. He wanted them to discharge their obligations to their families. Their renunciation was to be mental. Spiritual life could not he acquired by flying away from responsibilities. A married couple should live like brother and sister after the birth of one or two children, devoting their time to spiritual talk and contemplation. He encouraged the householders, saying that their life was, in a way, easier than that of the monk, since it was more advantageous to fight the enemy from inside a fortress than in an open field. He insisted, however, on their repairing into solitude every now and then to strengthen their devotion and faith in God through prayer, japa, and meditation. He prescribed for them the companionship of sdhus. He asked them to perform their worldly duties with one hand, while holding to God with the other, and to pray to God to make their duties fewer and fewer so that in the end they might cling to Him with both hands. He would discourage in both the householders and the celibate youths any lukewarmness in their spiritual struggles. He would not ask them to follow indiscriminately the ideal of non-resistance, which ultimately makes a coward of the unwary.
  
  --
  
  The first two householder devotees to come to Dakshinewar were Rm Chandra Dutta and Manomohan Mitra. A medical practitioner and chemist, Rm was sceptical about God and religion and never enjoyed peace of soul. He wanted tangible proof of God's existence. The Master said to him: "God really exists. You don't see the stars in the day-time, but that doesn't mean that the stars do not exist. There is butter in milk. But can anybody see it by merely looking at the milk? To get butter you must churn milk in a quiet and cool place. You cannot realize God by a mere wish; you must go through some mental disciplines." By degrees the Master awakened Rm's spirituality and the latter became one of his foremost lay disciples. It was Rm who introduced Narendranth to Sri Ramakrishna. Narendra was a relative of Rm.
  
  --
  
  Suresh Mitra, a beloved disciple whom the Master often addressed as Surendra, had received an English education and held an important post in an English firm. Like many other educated young men of the time, he prided himself on his atheism and led a Bohemian life. He was addicted to drinking. He cherished an exaggerated notion about man's free will. A victim of mental depression, he was brought to Sri Ramakrishna by Rmchandra Dutta. When he heard the Master asking a disciple to practise the virtue of self-surrender to God, he was impressed. But though he tried thenceforth to do so, he was unable to give up his old associates and his drinking. One day the Master said in his presence, "Well, when a man goes to an undesirable place, why doesn't he take the Divine Mother with him?" And to Surendra himself Sri Ramakrishna said: "Why should you drink wine as wine? Offer it to Kli, and then take it as Her Prasd, as consecrated drink. But see that you don't, become intoxicated; you must not reel and your thoughts must not wander. At first you will feel ordinary excitement, but soon you will experience spiritual exaltation." Gradually Surendra's entire life was changed. The Master designated him as one of those commissioned by the Divine Mother to defray a great part of his expenses. Surendra's purse was always open for the Master's comfort.
  
  --
  
  Bhavanth Chatterji visited the Master while he was still in his teens. His parents and relatives regarded Sri Ramakrishna as an insane person and tried their utmost to prevent him from becoming intimate with the Master. But the young boy was very stubborn and often spent nights at Dakshinewar. He was greatly attached to Narendra, and the Master encouraged their friendship. The very sight of him often awakened Sri Ramakrishna's spiritual emotion.
  
  --
  
  Balarm Bose came of a wealthy Vaishnava family. From his youth he had shown a deep religious temperament and had devoted his time to meditation, prayer, and the study of the Vaishnava scriptures. He was very much impressed by Sri Ramakrishna even at their first meeting. He asked Sri Ramakrishna whether God really existed and, if so, whether a man could realize Him. The Master said: "God reveals Himself to the devotee who thinks of Him as his nearest and dearest. Because you do not draw response by praying to Him once, you must not conclude that He does not exist. Pray to God, thinking of Him as dearer than your very self. He is much attached to His devotees. He comes to a man even before He is sought. There is none more intimate and affectionate than God."
  
  --
  
  Mahendranth Gupta, known as "M.", arrived at Dakshinewar in February 1882. He belonged to the Brhmo Samj and was headmaster of the Vidysgar High School at ymbazr, Calcutta. At the very first sight the Master recognized him as one of his "marked" disciples. Mahendra recorded in his diary Sri Ramakrishna's conversations with his devotees. These are the first directly recorded words, in the spiritual history of the world, of a man recognized as belonging in the class of Buddha and Christ. The present volume is a translation of this diary. Mahendra was instrumental, through his personal contacts, in spreading the Master's message among many young and aspiring souls.
  
  --
  
  Durgcharan Ng, also known as Ng Mahshay, was the ideal householder among the lay disciples of Sri Ramakrishna. He was the embodiment of the Master's ideal of life in the world, unstained by worldliness. In spite of his intense desire to become a sannysi, Sri Ramakrishna asked him to live in the world in the spirit of a monk, and the disciple truly carried out this injunction. He was born of a poor family and even during his boyhood often sacrificed everything to lessen the sufferings of the needy. He had married at an early age and after his wife's death had married a second time to obey his father's command. But he once said to his wife: "Love on the physical level never lasts.
  
  --
  
  He received every word of Sri Ramakrishna in dead earnest. One day he heard the Master saying that it was difficult for doctors, lawyers, and brokers to make much progress in spirituality. Of doctors he said, "If the mind clings to the tiny drops of medicine, how can it conceive of the Infinite?" That was the end of Durgcharan's medical practice and he threw his chest of medicines into the Ganges. Sri Ramakrishna assured him that he would not lack simple food and clothing. He bade him serve holy men. On being asked where he would find real holy men, the Master said that the sdhus themselves would seek his company. No sannysi could have lived a more austere life than Durgcharan.
  
  --
  
  But a series of reverses shocked him and he became eager to solve the riddle of life. He had heard people say that in spiritual life the help of a guru was imperative and that the guru was to be regarded as God Himself. But Girish was too well acquainted with human nature to see perfection in a man. His first meeting with Sri Ramakrishna did not impress him at all. He returned home feeling as if he had seen a freak at a circus; for the Master, in a semi-conscious mood, had inquired whether it was evening, though the lamps were burning in the room. But their paths often crossed, and Girish could not avoid further encounters. The Master attended a performance in Girish's Star Theatre. On this occasion, too, Girish found nothing impressive about him. One day, however, Girish happened to see the Master dancing and singing with the devotees. He felt the contagion and wanted to join them, but restrained himself for fear of ridicule. Another day Sri Ramakrishna was about to give him spiritual instruction, when Girish said: "I don't want to listen to instructions. I have myself written many instructions. They are of no use to me. Please help me in a more tangible way if you can." This pleased the Master and he asked Girish to cultivate faith.
  
  --
  
  He often loaded the Master with insults, drank in his presence, and took liberties which astounded the other devotees. But the Master knew that at heart Girish was tender, faithful, and sincere. He would not allow Girish to give up the theatre. And when a devotee asked him to tell Girish to give up drinking, he sternly replied: "That is none of your business. He who has taken charge of him will look after him. Girish is a devotee of heroic type. I tell you, drinking will not affect him." The Master knew that mere words could not induce a man to break deep-rooted habits, but that the silent influence of love worked miracles. Therefore he never asked him to give up alcohol, with the result that Girish himself eventually broke the habit. Sri Ramakrishna had strengthened Girish's resolution by allowing him to feel that he was absolutely free.
  
  One day Girish felt depressed because he was unable to submit to any routine of spiritual discipline. In an exalted mood the Master said to him: "All right, give me your power of attorney. Henceforth I assume responsibility for you. You need not do anything." Girish heaved a sigh of relief. He felt happy to think that Sri Ramakrishna had assumed his spiritual responsibilities. But poor Girish could not then realize that he also, on his part, had to give up his freedom and make of himself a puppet in Sri Ramakrishna's hands. The Master began to discipline him according to this new attitude.
  
  One day Girish said about a trifling matter, "Yes, I shall do this." "No, no!" the Master corrected him. "You must not speak in that egotistic manner. You should say, 'God willing, I shall do it'." Girish understood. Thenceforth he tried to give up all idea of personal responsibility and surrender himself to the Divine Will. His mind began to dwell constantly on Sri Ramakrishna. This unconscious meditation in time chastened his turbulent spirit.
  
  The householder devotees generally visited Sri Ramakrishna on Sunday afternoons and other holidays. Thus a brotherhood was gradually formed, and the Master encouraged their fraternal feeling. Now and then he would accept an invitation to a devotee's home, where other devotees would also be invited. Kirtan would be arranged and they would spend hours in dance and devotional music. The Master would go into trances or open his heart in religious discourses and in the narration of his own spiritual experiences.
  
  --
  
  But it was in the company of his younger devotees, pure souls yet unstained by the touch of worldliness, that Sri Ramakrishna took greatest joy. Among the young men who later embraced the householder's life were Nryan, Paltu, the younger Naren, Tejchandra and Purna. These visited the Master sometimes against strong opposition from home.
  
  --
  
  Purna was a lad of thirteen, whom Sri Ramakrishna described as an Ivarakoti, a soul born with special spiritual qualities. The Master said that Purna was the last of the group of brilliant devotees who, as he once had seen in a trance, would come to him for spiritual illumination. Purna said to Sri Ramakrishna during their second meeting, "You are God Himself incarnated in flesh and blood." Such words coming from a mere youngster proved of what stuff the boy was made.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna also became acquainted with a number of people whose scholarship or wealth entitled them everywhere to respect. He had met, a few years before, Devendranth Tgore, famous all over Bengl for his wealth, scholarship, saintly character, and social position. But the Master found him disappointing; for, whereas Sri Ramakrishna expected of a saint complete renunciation of the world, Devendranth combined with his saintliness a life of enjoyment. Sri Ramakrishna met the great poet Michael Madhusudan, who had embraced Christianity "for the sake of his stomach". To him the Master could not impart instruction, for the Divine Mother "pressed his tongue".
  
  In addition he met Mahrja Jatindra Mohan Tgore, a titled aristocrat of Bengl; Kristods Pl, the editor, social reformer, and patriot; Iswar Chandra Vidysgar, the noted philanthropist and educator; Pundit aadhar, a great champion of Hindu orthodoxy; Awini Kumr Dutta, a headmaster, moralist, and leader of Indian Nationalism; and Bankim Chatterji, a deputy magistrate, novelist, and essayist, and one of the fashioners of modern Bengli prose. Sri Ramakrishna was not the man to be dazzled by outward show, glory, or eloquence. A pundit without discrimination he regarded as a mere straw. He would search people's hearts for the light of God, and if that was missing, he would have nothing to do with them.
  
  --
  
  The Europeanized Kristods Pl did not approve of the Master's emphasis on renunciation and said: "Sir, this cant of renunciation has almost ruined the country. It is for this reason that the Indians are a subject nation today. Doing good to others, bringing education to the door of the ignorant, and above all, improving the material conditions of the country - these should be our duty now. The cry of religion and renunciation would, on the contrary, only weaken us. You should advise the young men of Bengl to resort only to such acts as will uplift the country." Sri Ramakrishna gave him a searching look and found no divine light within. "You man of poor understanding!"
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said sharply. "You dare to slight in these terms renunciation and piety, which our scriptures describe as the greatest of all virtues! After reading two pages of English you think you have come to know the world! You appear to think you are omniscient. Well, have you seen those tiny crabs that are born in the Ganges just when the rains set in? In this big universe you are even less significant than one of those small creatures. How dare you talk of helping the world? The Lord will look to that. You haven't the power in you to do it." After a pause the Master continued: "Can you explain to me how you can work for others? I know what you mean by helping them. To feed a number of persons, to treat them when they are sick, to construct a road or dig a well - Isn't that all? These are good deeds, no doubt, but how trifling in comparison with the vastness of the universe! How far can a man advance in this line? How many people can you save from famine? Malaria has ruined a whole province; what could you do to stop its onslaught? God alone looks after the world. Let a man first realize Him. Let a man get the authority from God and be endowed with His power; then, and then alone, may he think of doing good to others. A man should first be purged of all egotism. Then alone will the Blissful Mother ask him to work for the world." Sri Ramakrishna mistrusted philanthropy that presumed to pose as charity. He warned people against it. He saw in most acts of philanthropy nothing but egotism, vanity, a desire for glory, a barren excitement to kill the boredom of life, or an attempt to soothe a guilty conscience. True charity, he taught, is the result of love of God - service to man in a spirit of worship.
  
  --
  
  The first of these young men to come to the Master was Ltu. Born of obscure parents, in Behar, he came to Calcutta in search of work and was engaged by Rmchandra Dutta as house-boy. Learning of the saintly Sri Ramakrishna, he visited the Master at Dakshinewar and was deeply touched by his cordiality. When he was about to leave, the Master asked him to take some money and return home in a boat or carriage. But Ltu declared he had a few pennies and jingled the coins in his pocket. Sri Ramakrishna later requested Rm to allow Ltu to stay with him permanently. Under Sri Ramakrishna's guidance Ltu made great progress in meditation and was blessed with ecstatic visions, but all the efforts of the Master to give him a smattering of education failed. Ltu was very fond of kirtan and other devotional songs but remained all his life illiterate.
  
  --
  
  Even before Rkhl's coming to Dakshinewar, the Master had had visions of him as his spiritual son and as a playmate of Krishna at Vrindvan. Rkhl was born of wealthy parents. During his childhood he developed wonderful spiritual traits and used to play at worshipping gods and goddesses. In his teens he was married to a sister of Manomohan Mitra, from whom he first heard of the Master. His father objected to his association with Sri Ramakrishna but afterwards was reassured to find that many celebrated people were visitors at Dakshinewar. The relationship between the Master and this beloved disciple was that of mother and child. Sri Ramakrishna allowed Rkhl many liberties denied to others. But he would not hesitate to chastise the boy for improper actions. At one time Rkhl felt a childlike jealousy because he found that other boys were receiving the Master's affection. He soon got over it and realized his guru as the Guru of the whole universe. The Master was worried to hear of his marriage, but was relieved to find that his wife was a spiritual soul who would not be a hindrance to his progress.
  
  --
  
  To spread his message to the four corners of the earth Sri Ramakrishna needed a strong instrument. With his frail body and delicate limbs he could not make great journeys across wide spaces. And such an instrument was found in Narendranth Dutta, his beloved Naren, later known to the world as Swmi Viveknanda. Even before meeting Narendranth, the Master had seen him in a vision as a sage, immersed in the meditation of the Absolute, who at Sri Ramakrishna's request had agreed to take human birth to assist him in his work.
  
  --
  
  In a state of mental conflict and torture of soul, Narendra came to Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshinewar. He was then eighteen years of age and had been in college two years. He entered the Master's room accompanied by some light-hearted friends. At Sri Ramakrishna's request he sang a few songs, pouring his whole soul into them, and the Master went into Samdhi. A few minutes later Sri Ramakrishna suddenly left his seat, took Narendra by the hand, and led him to the screened verandah north of his room.
  
  --
  
  When they returned to the room and Narendra heard the Master speaking to others, he was surprised to find in his words an inner logic, a striking sincerity, and a convincing proof of his spiritual nature. In answer to Narendra's question, "Sir, have you seen God?" the Master said: "Yes, I have seen God. I have seen Him more tangibly than I see you. I have talked to Him more intimately than I am talking to you." Continuing, the Master said: "But, my child, who wants to see God? People shed jugs of tears for money, wife, and children. But if they would weep for God for only one day they would surely see Him." Narendra was amazed. These words he could not doubt. This was the first time he had ever heard a man saying that he had seen God. But he could not reconcile these words of the Master with the scene that had taken place on the verandah only a few minutes before. He concluded that Sri Ramakrishna was a monomaniac, and returned home rather puzzled in mind.
  
  --
  
  But during his third visit Narendra fared no better. This time, at the Master's touch, he lost consciousness entirely. While he was still in that state, Sri Ramakrishna questioned him concerning his spiritual antecedents and whereabouts, his mission in this world, and the duration of his mortal life. The answers confirmed what the Master himself had known and inferred. Among other things, he came to know that Narendra was a sage who had already attained perfection, and that the day he learnt his real nature he would give up his body in yoga, by an act of will.
  
  A few more meetings completely removed from Narendra's mind the last traces of the notion that Sri Ramakrishna might be a monomaniac or wily hypnotist. His integrity, purity, renunciation, and unselfishness were beyond question. But Narendra could not accept a man, an imperfect mortal, as his guru. As a member of the Brhmo Samj, he could not believe that a human intermediary was necessary between man and God.
  
  Moreover, he openly laughed at Sri Ramakrishna's visions as hallucinations. Yet in the secret chamber of his heart he bore a great love for the Master.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was grateful to the Divine Mother for sending him one who doubted his own realizations. Often he asked Narendra to test him as the money-changers test their coins. He laughed at Narendra's biting criticism of his spiritual experiences and Samdhi.
  
  --
  
  The Master wanted to train Narendra in the teachings of the non-dualistic Vednta philosophy. But Narendra, because of his Brhmo upbringing, considered it wholly blasphemous to look on man as one with his Creator. One day at the temple garden he laughingly said to a friend: "How silly! This jug is God! This cup is God! Whatever we see is God! And we too are God! Nothing could be more absurd." Sri Ramakrishna came out of his room and gently touched him. Spellbound, he immediately perceived that everything in the world was indeed God. A new universe opened around him. Returning home in a dazed state, he found there too that the food, the plate, the eater himself, the people around him, were all God. When he walked in the street, he saw that the cabs, the horses, the streams of people, the buildings, were all Brahman. He could hardly go about his day's business. His parents became anxious about him and thought him ill. And when the intensity of the experience abated a little, he saw the world as a dream.
  
  --
  
  Narendra began to talk of his doubt of the very existence of God. His friends thought he had become an atheist and piously circulated gossip adducing unmentionable motives for his unbelief. His moral character was maligned. Even some of the Master's disciples partly believed the gossip, and Narendra told these to their faces that only a coward believed in God through fear of suffering or hell. But he was distressed to think that Sri Ramakrishna, too, might believe these false reports. His pride revolted. He said to himself: "What does it matter? If a man's good name rests on such slender foundations, I don't care." But later on he was amazed to learn that the Master had never lost faith in him. To a disciple who complained about Narendra's degradation, Sri Ramakrishna replied: "Hush, you fool! The Mother has told me it can never be so. I won't look at you if you speak that way again."
  
  --
  
  Narendra now realized that he had a spiritual mission to fulfil. He resolved to renounce the world, as his grandfather had renounced it, and he came to Sri Ramakrishna for his blessing. But even before he had opened his mouth, the Master knew what was in his mind and wept bitterly at the thought of separation. "I know you cannot lead a worldly life," he said, "but for my sake live in the world as long as I live."
  
  One day, soon after, Narendra requested Sri Ramakrishna to pray to the Divine Mother to remove his poverty. Sri Ramakrishna bade him pray to Her himself, for She would certainly listen to his prayer. Narendra entered the shrine of Kli. As he stood before the image of the Mother, he beheld Her as a living Goddess, ready to give wisdom and liberation. Unable to ask Her for petty worldly things, he prayed only for knowledge and renunciation, love and liberation. The Master rebuked him for his failure to ask the Divine Mother to remove his poverty and sent him back to the temple. But Narendra, standing in Her presence, again forgot the purpose of his coming. Thrice he went to the temple at the bidding of the Master, and thrice he returned, having forgotten in Her presence why he had come. He was wondering about it when it suddenly flashed in his mind that this was all the work of Sri Ramakrishna; so now he asked the Master himself to remove his poverty, and was assured that his family would not lack simple food and clothing.
  
  This was a very rich and significant experience for Narendra. It taught him that akti, the Divine Power, cannot be ignored in the world and that in the relative plane the need of worshipping a Personal God is imperative. Sri Ramakrishna was overjoyed with the conversion. The next day, sitting almost on Narendra's lap, he said to a devotee, pointing first to himself, then to Narendra: "I see I am this, and again that. Really I feel no difference. A stick floating in the Ganges seems to divide the water; but in reality the water is one. Do you see my point? Well, whatever is, is the Mother - isn't that so?" In later years Narendra would say: "Sri Ramakrishna was the only person who, from the time he met me, believed in me uniformly throughout. Even my mother and brothers did not. It was his unwavering trust and love for me that bound me to him for ever. He alone knew how to love. Worldly people only make a show of love for selfish ends."
  
  --
  
  Others destined to be monastic disciples of Sri Ramakrishna came to Dakshinewar.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to him: "God favours those who can weep for Him. Tears shed for God wash away the sins of former births."
  
  --
  
  Bburm Ghosh came to Dakshinewar accompanied by Rkhl, his classmate. The Master, as was often his custom, examined the boy's physiognomy and was satisfied about his latent spirituality. At the age of eight Bburm had thought of leading a life of renunciation, in the company of a monk, in a hut shut out from the public view by a thick wall of trees. The very sight of the Panchavati awakened in his heart that dream of boyhood. Bburm was tender in body and soul. The Master used to say that he was pure to his very bones. One day Hazra in his usual mischievous fashion advised Bburm and some of the other young boys to ask Sri Ramakrishna for some spiritual powers and not waste their life in mere gaiety and merriment. The Master, scenting mischief, called Bburm to his side, and said: "What can you ask of me? Isn't everything that I have already yours? Yes, everything I have earned in the shape of realizations is for the sake of you all. So get rid of the idea of begging, which alienates by creating a distance.
  
  --
  
  Jogindranth, on the other hand, was gentle to a fault. One day, under circumstances very like those that had evoked Niranjan's anger, he curbed his temper and held his peace instead of threatening Sri Ramakrishna's abusers. The Master, learning of his conduct, scolded him roundly. Thus to each the fault of the other was recommended as a virtue. The guru was striving to develop, in the first instance, composure, and in the second, mettle. The secret of his training was to build up, by a tactful recognition of the requirements of each given case, the character of the devotee.
  
  Jogindranth came of an aristocratic brhmin family of Dakshinewar. His father and relatives shared the popular mistrust of Sri Ramakrishna's sanity. At a very early age the boy developed religious tendencies, spending two or three hours daily in meditation, and his meeting with Sri Ramakrishna deepened his desire for the realization of God. He had a perfect horror of marriage. But at the earnest request of his mother he had had to yield, and he now believed that his spiritual future was doomed. So he kept himself away from the Master.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna employed a ruse to bring Jogindra to him. As soon as the disciple entered the room, the Master rushed forward to meet the young man. Catching hold of the disciple's hand, he said: "What if you have married, Haven't I too married? What is there to be afraid of in that?" Touching his own chest he said: "If this [meaning himself]
  
  --
  
  arat stated calmly: "I won't be satisfied with anything short of that. I shall trudge on along the path till I attain that blessed state." Sri Ramakrishna was very much pleased.
  
  --
  
  The Master knew Hari's passion for Vednta. But he did not wish any of his disciples to become a dry ascetic or a mere bookworm. So he asked Hari to practise Vednta in life by giving up the unreal and following the Real. "But it is not so easy", Sri Ramakrishna said, "to realize the illusoriness of the world. Study alone does not help one very much.
  
  --
  
  Hariprasanna, a college student, visited the Master in the company of his friends ashi and arat. Sri Ramakrishna showed him great favour by initiating him into spiritual life.
  
  --
  
  Subodh visited the Master in 1885. At the very first meeting Sri Ramakrishna said to him: "You will succeed. Mother says so. Those whom She sends here will certainly attain spirituality." During the second meeting the Master wrote something on Subodh's tongue, stroked his body from the navel to the throat, and said, "Awake, Mother!
  
  --
  
  Two more young men, Srad Prasanna and Tulasi, complete the small band of the Master's disciples later to embrace the life of the wandering monk. With the exception of the elder Gopl, all of them were in their teens or slightly over. They came from middle-class Bengli families, and most of them were students in school or college. Their parents and relatives had envisaged for them bright worldly careers. They came to Sri Ramakrishna with pure bodies, vigorous minds, and uncontaminated souls. All were born with unusual spiritual attributes. Sri Ramakrishna accepted them, even at first sight, as his children, relatives, friends, and companions. His magic touch unfolded them. And later each according to his measure reflected the life of the Master, becoming a torch-bearer of his message across land and sea.
  
  --
  
  With his woman devotees Sri Ramakrishna established a very sweet relationship. He himself embodied the tender traits of a woman; he had dwelt on the highest plane of Truth, where there is not even the slightest trace of sex; and his innate purity evoked only the noblest emotion in men and women alike. His woman devotees often said: "We seldom looked on Sri Ramakrishna as a member of the male sex. We regarded him as one of us. We never felt any constraint before him, He was our best confidant." They loved him as their child, their friend, and their teacher. In spiritual discipline he advised them to renounce lust and greed and especially warned them not to fall into the snares of men.
  
  --
  
  Unsurpassed among the woman devotees of the Master in the richness of her devotion and spiritual experiences was Aghoramani Devi, an orthodox brhmin woman. Widowed at an early age, she had dedicated herself completely to spiritual pursuits. Gopl, the Baby Krishna, was her Ideal Deity, whom she worshipped following the Vtsalya attitude of the Vaishnava religion, regarding Him as her own child. Through Him she satisfied her unassuaged maternal love, cooking for Him, feeding Him, bathing Him, and putting Him to bed. This sweet intimacy with Gopl won her the sobriquet of Gopl M, or Gopl's Mother. For forty years she had lived on the bank of the Ganges in a small bare room, her only companions being a threadbare copy of the Ramayana and a bag containing her rosary. At the age of sixty, in 1884, she visited Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshinewar.
  
  --
  
  One early morning at three o'clock, about a year later, Gopl M was about to finish her daily devotions, when she was startled to find Sri Ramakrishna sitting on her left, with his right hand clenched, like the hand of the image of Gopl. She was amazed and caught hold of the hand, whereupon the figure vanished and in its place appeared the real Gopl, her Ideal Deity. She cried aloud with joy. Gopl begged her for butter. She pleaded her poverty and gave Him some dry coconut candies. Gopl sat on her lap, snatched away her rosary, jumped on her shoulders, and moved all about the room. As soon as the day broke she hastened to Dakshinewar like an insane woman. Of course Gopl accompanied her, resting His head on her shoulder. She clearly saw His tiny ruddy feet hanging over her breast. She entered Sri Ramakrishna's room. The Master had fallen into Samdhi. Like a child, he sat on her lap, and she began to feed him with butter, cream, and other delicacies. After some time he regained consciousness and returned to his bed. But the mind of Gopl's Mother was still roaming in another plane.
  
  --
  
  In 1882 Hriday was, dismissed from service in the Ka1i temple, for an act of indiscretion, and was ordered by the authorities never again to enter the garden. In a way the hand of the Divine Mother may be seen even in this. Having taken care of Sri Ramakrishna during the stormy days of his spiritual discipline, Hriday had come naturally to consider himself the sole guardian of his uncle. None could approach the Master without his knowledge. And he would be extremely jealous if Sri Ramakrishna paid attention to anyone else. Hriday's removal made it possible for the real devotees of the Master to approach him freely and live with him in the temple garden.
  
  During the weekends the householders, enjoying a respite from their office duties, visited the Master. The meetings on Sunday afternoons were of the nature of little festivals. Refreshments were often served. Professional musicians now and then sang devotional songs. The Master and the devotees sang and danced, Sri Ramakrishna frequently going into ecstatic moods. The happy memory of such a Sunday would linger long in the minds of the devotees. Those whom the Master wanted for special instruction he would ask to visit him on Tuesdays and Saturdays. These days were particularly auspicious for the worship of Kli.
  
  The young disciples destined to be monks, Sri Ramakrishna invited on week-days, when the householders were not present. The training of the householders and of the future monks had to proceed along entirely different lines. Since M. generally visited the Master on weekends, the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna does not contain much mention of the future monastic disciples.
  
  --
  
  In April 1885 the Master's throat became inflamed. Prolonged conversation or absorption in Samdhi, making the blood flow into the throat, would aggravate the pain. Yet when the annual Vaishnava festival was celebrated at Pnihti, Sri Ramakrishna attended it against the doctor's advice. With a group of disciples he spent himself in music, dance, and ecstasy. The illness took a turn for the worse and was diagnosed as "clergyman's sore throat". The patient was cautioned against conversation and ecstasies. Though he followed the physician's directions regarding medicine and diet, he could neither control his trances nor withhold from seekers the solace of his advice. Sometimes, like a sulky child, he would complain to the Mother about the crowds, who gave him no rest day or night. He was overheard to say to Her: "Why do You bring here all these worthless people, who are like milk diluted with five times its own quantity of water? My eyes are almost destroyed with blowing the fire to dry up the water. My health is gone. It is beyond my strength. Do it Yourself, if You want it done. This (pointing to his own body) is but a perforated drum, and if you go on beating it day in and day out, how long will it last?"
  
  --
  
  In the beginning of September 1885 Sri Ramakrishna was moved to ympukur. Here Narendra organized the young disciples to attend the Master day and night. At first they concealed the Master's illness from their guardians; but when it became more serious they remained with him almost constantly, sweeping aside the objections of their relatives and devoting themselves whole-heartedly to the nursing of their beloved guru.
  
  These young men, under the watchful eyes of the Master and the leadership of Narendra, became the Antaranga Bhakts, the devotees of Sri Ramakrishna's inner circle. They were privileged to witness many manifestations of the Master's divine powers. Narendra received instructions regarding the propagation of his message after his death.
  
  The Holy Mother - so Srad Devi had come to be affectionately known by Sri Ramakrishna's devotees - was brought from Dakshinewar to look after the general cooking and to prepare the special diet of the patient. The dwelling space being extremely limited, she had to adapt herself to cramped conditions. At three o'clock in the morning she would finish her bath in the Ganges and then enter a small covered place on the roof, where she spent the whole day cooking and praying. After eleven at night, when the visitors went away, she would come down to her small bedroom on the first floor to enjoy a few hours' sleep. Thus she spent three months, working hard, sleeping little, and praying constantly for the Master's recovery.
  
  --
  
  They began openly to declare Sri Ramakrishna a Divine Incarnation and to regard themselves as his chosen people, who could neglect religious disciplines with impunity.
  
  --
  
  When Sri Ramakrishna's illness showed signs of aggravation, the devotees, following the advice of Dr. Sarkr, rented a spacious garden house at Cossipore, in the northern suburbs of Calcutta. The Master was removed to this place on December 11, 1885.
  
  --
  
  It took the group only a few days to become adjusted to the new environment. The Holy Mother, assisted by Sri Ramakrishna's niece, Lakshmi Devi, and a few woman devotees, took charge of the cooking for the Master and his attendants. Surendra willingly bore the major portion of the expenses, other householders contributing according to their means. Twelve disciples were constant attendants of the Master: Narendra, Rkhl, Bburm, Niranjan, Jogin, Ltu, Trak, the elder Gopl, Kli, ashi, arat, and the younger Gopl. Srad, Harish, Hari, Gangdhar, and Tulasi visited the Master from time to time and practised sdhana at home. Narendra, preparing for his law examination, brought his books to the garden house in order to continue his studies during the infrequent spare moments. He encouraged his brother disciples to intensify their meditation, scriptural studies, and other spiritual disciplines. They all forgot their relatives and their worldly duties.
  
  --
  
  Pundit aadhar one day suggested to the Master that the latter could remove the illness by concentrating his mind on the throat, the scriptures having declared that yogis had power to cure themselves in that way. The Master rebuked the pundit. "For a scholar like you to make such a proposal!" he said. "How can I withdraw the mind from the Lotus Feet of God and turn it to this worthless cage of flesh and blood?" "For our sake at least", begged Narendra and the other disciples. "But", replied Sri Ramakrishna, "do you think I enjoy this suffering? I wish to recover, but that depends on the Mother."
  
  --
  
  On January 1, 1886, he felt better and came down to the garden for a little stroll. It was about three o'clock in the afternoon. Some thirty lay disciples were in the hall or sitting about under the trees. Sri Ramakrishna said to Girish, "Well, Girish, what have you seen in me, that you proclaim me before everybody as an Incarnation of God?" Girish was not the man to be taken by surprise. He knelt before the Master and said with folded hands, "What can an insignificant person like myself say about the One whose glory even sages like Vysa and Vlmiki could not adequately measure?" The Master was profoundly moved. He said: "What more shall I say? I bless you all. Be illumined!" He fell into a spiritual mood. Hearing these words the devotees, one and all, became overwhelmed with emotion. They rushed to him and fell at his feet. He touched them all, and each received an appropriate benediction. Each of them, at the touch of the Master, experienced ineffable bliss. Some laughed, some wept, some sat down to meditate, some began to pray. Some saw light, some had visions of their Chosen Ideals, and some felt within their bodies the rush of spiritual power.
  
  --
  
  Narendra was to continue the work after Sri Ramakrishna's passing. Sri Ramakrishna said to him: "I leave these young men in your charge. See that they develop their spirituality and do not return home." One day he asked the boys, in preparation for a monastic life, to beg their food from door to door without thought of caste. They hailed the Master's order and went out with begging-bowls. A few days later he gave the ochre cloth of the sannysi to each of them, including Girish, who was now second to none in his spirit of renunciation. Thus the Master himself laid the foundation of the future Ramakrishna Order of monks.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sinking day by day. His diet was reduced to a minimum and he found it almost impossible to swallow. He whispered to M.: "I am bearing all this cheerfully, for otherwise you would be weeping. If you all say that it is better that the body should go rather than suffer this torture, I am willing." The next morning he said to his depressed disciples seated near the bed: "Do you know what I see? I see that God alone has become everything. Men and animals are only frameworks covered with skin, and it is He who is moving through their heads and limbs. I see that it is God Himself who has become the block, the executioner, and the victim for the sacrifice." He fainted with emotion. Regaining partial consciousness, he said: "Now I have no pain. I am very well." Looking at Ltu he said: "There sits Ltu resting his head on the palm of his hand.
  
  --
  
  Yet one is not sure whether the Master's soul actually was tortured by this agonizing disease. At least during his moments of spiritual exaltation - which became almost constant during the closing days of his life on earth - he lost all consciousness of the body, of illness and suffering. One of his attendants said later on: "While Sri Ramakrishna lay sick he never actually suffered pain. He would often say: 'O mind!
  
  --
  
  But Narendra could not find it. Gopl, frightened, ran upstairs to the Master. Sri Ramakrishna only said: "Let him stay that way for a time. He has worried me long enough."
  
  --
  
  Some days later, Narendra being alone with the Master, Sri Ramakrishna looked at him and went into Samdhi. Narendra felt the penetration of a subtle force and lost all outer consciousness. Regaining presently the normal mood, he found the Master weeping.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to him: "Today I have given you my all and I am now only a poor fakir, possessing nothing. By this power you will do immense good in the world, and not until it is accomplished will you return." Henceforth the Master lived in the disciple.
  
  --
  
  Sunday, August 15, 1886. The Master's pulse became irregular. The devotees stood by the bedside. Toward dusk Sri Ramakrishna had difficulty in breathing. A short time afterwards he complained of hunger. A little liquid food was put into his mouth; some of it he swallowed, and the rest ran over his chin. Two attendants began to fan him. All at once he went into Samdhi of a rather unusual type. The body became stiff. ai burst into tears. But after midnight the Master revived. He was now very hungry and helped himself to a bowl of porridge. He said he was strong again. He sat up against five or six pillows, which were supported by the body of ashi, who was fanning him. Narendra took his feet on his lap and began to rub them. Again and again, the Master repeated to him, "Take care of these boys." Then, he asked to lie down. Three times in ringing tones he cried the name of Kli, his life's Beloved, and lay back. At two minutes past one there was a low sound in his throat and he fell a little to one side. A thrill passed over his body. His hair stood on end. His eyes became fixed on the tip of his nose. His face was lighted with a smile. The final ecstasy began. It was Mah-samdhi, total absorption, from which his mind never returned. Narendra, unable to bear it, ran downstairs.
  

1.02_-_Karmayoga, #Essays In Philosophy And Yoga, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  
  There have been others in the past which have powerfully influenced the national mind and there is no reason why there should not be a yet more perfect synthesis in the future. It is such a synthesis, embracing all life and action in its scope, that the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda have been preparing. What is dimly beginning now is a repetition on a wider stage of what happened once before in India, more rapidly but to smaller issues, when the Buddha lived and taught his philosophy and ethics to the Aryan nations. Then as now a mighty spirit, it matters not whether Avatar or Vibhuti, the full expression of God in man or a great outpouring of the divine energy, came down among men and brought into their daily life and practice the force and impulse of utter spirituality. And this time it is the full light and not a noble part, unlike Buddhism which, expressing Vedantic morality, yet ignored a fundamental reality of Vedanta and was therefore expelled from its prime seat and cradle. The material result was then what it will be now, a great political, moral and social revolution which made India
  

1.1.05_-_The_Siddhis, #Essays Divine And Human, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  Siddhis, but recognised them as a part, though not the most important part of Yogic accomplishment, and used them with an abundant and unhesitating vigour. They are recognised in our sacred books, formally included in Yoga by so devotional a Purana as the Bhagawat, noted and some of their processes carefully tabled by Patanjali. Even in the midnight of the Kali great Siddhas and saints have used them more sparingly, but with power and effectiveness. It would be difficult for many of them to do otherwise than use the siddhis since by the very fact of their spiritual elevation, these powers have become not exceptional movements, but the ordinary processes of their thought and action. It is by the use of the siddhis that the Siddhas sitting on the mountains help the world out of the heart of their solitude and silence. Jesus Christ made the use of the siddhis a prominent feature of his pure, noble and spiritual life, nor did he hesitate to communicate them to his disciples - the laying of hands, the healing of the sick, the ashirvada, the abhishap, the speaking with many tongues were all given to them. The day of Pentecost is still kept holy by the Christian Church. Joan of Arc used her siddhis to liberate France. Socrates had his siddhis, some of them of a very material nature. Men of great genius are usually born with some of them and use them unconsciously. Even in natures far below the power and clarity of genius we see their occasional or irregular operation. The West, always avid of knowledge, is struggling, sadly hampered by misuse and imposture, to develop them and gropes roughly for the truth about them in the phenomena of hypnotism, clairvoyance, telepathy, vouched for by men and women of great intellectuality and sincerity. Returning
  Eastwards, where only their right practice has been understood, the lives of our saints northern and southern are full of the record of Siddhis. Sri Ramakrishna, whose authority is quoted against
  

1.240_-_1.300_Talks, #Talks, #Sri Ramana Maharshi, #Hinduism
  
  D.: Sri Ramakrishna touched Vivekananda and the latter realised
  Bliss. Is it possible?
  M.: Sri Ramakrishna did not touch all for that purpose. He did not create Atma. He did not create Realisation. Vivekananda was ripe.
  
  --
  
  D.: Sri Ramakrishna says that nirvikalpa samadhi cannot last longer than twenty-one days. If persisted in, the person dies. Is it so?
  M.: When the prarabdha is exhausted the ego is completely dissolved without leaving any trace behind. This is final liberation. Unless prarabdha is completely exhausted the ego will be rising up in its pure form even in jivanmuktas. I still doubt the statement of the maximum duration of twenty-one days. It is said that people cannot live if they fast thirty or forty days. But there are those who have fasted longer, say a hundred days. It means that there is still prarabdha for them.

1.240_-_Talks_2, #unset, #G. W. F. Hegel, #Philosophy
  Talk 252.
  D.: Sri Ramakrishna touched Vivekananda and the latter realised
  Bliss. Is it possible?
  M.: Sri Ramakrishna did not touch all for that purpose. He did not create Atma. He did not create Realisation. Vivekananda was ripe.
  He was anxious to realise. He must have completed the preliminary course in his past births. Such is possible for ripe persons only.
  --
  There is no real going into or coming from it. Becoming aware of that is samadhi. An ignorant man cannot remain long in sushupti because he is forced by nature to emerge from it. His ego is not dead and it will rise up again. But the wise man attempts to crush it in its source. It rises up again and again for him too impelled by nature, i.e., prarabdha. That is, both in Jnani and ajnani, ego is sprouting forth, but with this difference, namely the ajnanis ego when it rises up is quite ignorant of its source, or he is not aware of his sushupti in the dream and jagrat states; whereas a Jnani when his ego rises up enjoys his transcendental experience with this ego keeping his lakshya (aim) always on its source. This ego is not dangerous: it is like the skeleton of a burnt rope: in this form it is ineffective. By constantly keeping our aim on our source, our ego is dissolved in its source. like a doll of salt in the ocean.
  D.: Sri Ramakrishna says that nirvikalpa samadhi cannot last longer than twenty-one days. If persisted in, the person dies. Is it so?
  M.: When the prarabdha is exhausted the ego is completely dissolved without leaving any trace behind. This is final liberation. Unless prarabdha is completely exhausted the ego will be rising up in its pure form even in jivanmuktas. I still doubt the statement of the maximum duration of twenty-one days. It is said that people cannot live if they fast thirty or forty days. But there are those who have fasted longer, say a hundred days. It means that there is still prarabdha for them.
  --
  
  D.: Sri Ramakrishna and others practised concentration.
  M.: Concentration and all other practices are meant for recognising the absence, i.e., non-existence of ignorance. No one can deny his own being. Being is knowledge, i.e., awareness. That awareness implies absence of ignorance. Therefore everyone naturally admits nonexistence of ignorance. And yet why should he suffer? Because he thinks he is this or that. That is wrong. I am alone is; and not I am so and so, or I am such and such. When existence is absolute it is right; when it is particularised it is wrong. That is the whole truth.
  --
  Talk 386.
  D.: In Sri Ramakrishnas Life it is said that an idol, Ramlal was animate. Is it true?
  M.: Can you account for the animation of this body? Is the movement of the idol more mysterious than the movement of this body?
  --
  M.: Brahman is called Isvara in relation to the world.
  D.: Is it possible to speak to Isvara as Sri Ramakrishna did?
  
  --
  Talk 437.
  M.: People have read of Vivekananda having asked Sri Ramakrishna,
  Have you seen God? and imitate him now. They also ask, Have you realised God?

1.300_-_1.400_Talks, #Talks, #Sri Ramana Maharshi, #Hinduism
  Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi
  D.: Sri Ramakrishna and others practised concentration.
  
  --
  
  D.: In Sri Ramakrishna's Life it is said that an idol, Ramlal was animate. Is it true?
  M.: Can you account for the animation of this body? Is the movement of the idol more mysterious than the movement of this body?
  --
  
  D.: Is it possible to speak to Isvara as Sri Ramakrishna did?
  369

1.400_-_1.450_Talks, #Talks, #Sri Ramana Maharshi, #Hinduism
  
  M.: People have read of Vivekananda having asked Sri Ramakrishna,
  "Have you seen God?" and imitate him now. They also ask, "Have you realised God?"

1.439, #unset, #G. W. F. Hegel, #Philosophy
  Talk 496.
  A Swami belonging to Sri Ramakrishna Mission had a very interesting conversation with Sri Bhagavan in the course of which Sri Bhagavan observed:
  M.: Avidya (ignorance) is the obstacle for knowing your true nature even at the present moment.
  --
  Talk 499.
  The Swami of Sri Ramakrishna Mission had more questions to ask:
  Swamiji, I went up the hill to see the asramas in which you lived in your youth. I have also read your life. May I know if you did not then feel that there is God to whom you should pray or that you should practise something in order to reach this state?
  --
  Restrictions are only for the common people and not for saints like you.
  D.: It is said that Sri Ramakrishna saw life in the image of Kali which he worshipped. Can it be true?
  
  M.: The life was perceptible to Sri Ramakrishna and not to all. The vital force was due to himself. It was his own vital force which manifested as if it were outside and drew him in. Were the image full of life it must have been found so by all. But everything is full of life. That is the fact. Many devotees have had experiences similar to those of Sri Ramakrishna.
  D.: How can there be life in stone? It is unconscious.

1.450_-_1.500_Talks, #Talks, #Sri Ramana Maharshi, #Hinduism
  
  A Swami belonging to Sri Ramakrishna Mission had a very interesting conversation with Sri Bhagavan in the course of which Sri Bhagavan observed:
  M.: Avidya (ignorance) is the obstacle for knowing your true nature even at the present moment.
  --
  
  The Swami of Sri Ramakrishna Mission had more questions to ask:
  Swamiji, I went up the hill to see the asramas in which you lived in your youth. I have also read your life. May I know if you did not then feel that there is God to whom you should pray or that you should practise something in order to reach this state?

1.550_-_1.600_Talks, #Talks, #Sri Ramana Maharshi, #Hinduism
  "Restrictions are only for the common people and not for saints like you."
  D.: It is said that Sri Ramakrishna saw life in the image of Kali which he worshipped. Can it be true?
  562
  --
  Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi
  M.: The life was perceptible to Sri Ramakrishna and not to all. The vital force was due to himself. It was his own vital force which manifested as if it were outside and drew him in. Were the image full of life it must have been found so by all. But everything is full of life. That is the fact. Many devotees have had experiences similar to those of Sri Ramakrishna.
  

2.01_-_2.09_-_MASTER_AND_DISCIPLE, #Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, #Sri Ramakrishna, #Hinduism
  
  IT WAS ON A SUNDAY in spring, a few days after Sri Ramakrishna's birthday, that M.
  
  met him the first time. Sri Ramakrishna lived at the Kailibari, the temple garden of Mother Kali, on the bank of the Ganges at Dakshineswar.
  
  M., being at leisure on Sundays, had gone with his friend Sidhu to visit several gardens at Baranagore. As they were walking in Prasanna Bannerji's garden, Sidhu said: "There is a charming place on the bank of the Ganges where a paramahamsa lives. Should you like to go there?" M. assented and they started immediately for the Dakshineswar temple garden. They arrived at the main gate at dusk and went straight to Sri Ramakrishna's room. And there they found him seated on a wooden couch, facing the east. With a smile on his face he was talking of God. The room was full of people, all seated on the floor, drinking in his words in deep silence.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said: "When, hearing the name of Hari or Rma once, you shed tears and your hair stands on end, then you may know for certain that you do not have to perform such devotions as the sandhya any more. Then only will you have a right to renounce rituals; or rather, rituals will drop away of themselves. Then it will be enough if you repeat only the name of Rma or Hari, or even simply Om." Continuing, he said, "The sandhya merges in the Gayatri, and the Gayatri merges in Om."
  
  --
  
  On the way back to Sri Ramakrishna's room the two friends talked. Sidhu told M. that the temple garden had been founded by Rani Rasmani. He said that God was worshipped there daily as Kali, Krishna, and Siva, and that within the gates sadhus and beggars were fed. When they reached Sri Ramakrishna's door again, they found it shut, and Brinde, the Maid, standing outside. M., who had been trained in English manners and would not enter a room without permission, asked her, "Is the holy man in?" Brinde replied, "Yes he's in the room."
  
  --
  
  M. had just finished his studies in college. It amazed him to hear that Sri Ramakrishna read no books.
  
  --
  
  Entering the room, they found Sri Ramakrishna alone, seated on the wooden couch.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna asked them: "Where do you live? What is your occupation? Why have you come to Baranagore?" M. answered the questions, but he noticed that now and then the Master seemed to become absent-minded. Later he learnt that this mood is called bhava, ecstasy. It is like the state of the angler who has been sitting with his rod: the fish comes and swallows the bait, and the float begins to tremble; the angler is on the alert; he grips the rod and watches the float steadily and eagerly; he will not speak to anyone. Such was the state of Sri Ramakrishna's mind. Later M. heard, and himself noticed, that Sri Ramakrishna would often go into this mood after dusk, sometimes becoming totally unconscious of the outer world.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna (still in ecstasy): "No-evening worship? No, it is not exactly that."
  
  After a little conversation M. saluted the Master and took his leave. "Come again", Sri Ramakrishna said.
  
  --
  
  M.'s second visit to Sri Ramakrishna took place on the southeast verandah at eight o'clock in the morning. The Master was about to be shaved, the barber having just arrived. As the cold season still lingered he had put on a moleskin shawl bordered with red. Seeing M., the Master said: "So you have come. That's good. Sit down here." He was smiling. He stammered a little when he spoke.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna (to M.): "Where do you live?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna: "Where are you staying here?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna: "Oh, at Ishan's? Well, how is Keshab now? He was very ill."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna: "I made a vow to worship the Mother with green coconut and sugar on Keshab's recovery. Sometimes, in the early hours of the morning, I would wake up and cry before Her: 'Mother, please make Keshab well again. If Keshab doesn't live, whom shall I talk with when I go to Calcutta?' And so it was that I resolved to offer Her the green coconut and sugar.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna on M.'s marriage
  
  Sri Ramakrishna: "Pratap's brother came here. He stayed a few days. He had nothing to do and said he wanted to live here. I came to know that he had left his wife and children with his father-in-law. He has a whole brood of them! So I took him to task. Just fancy! He is the father of so many children! Will people from the neighbourhood feed them and bring them up? He isn't even ashamed that someone else is feeding his wife and children, and that they have been left at his father-in-law's house. I scolded him very hard and asked him to look for a job. Then he was willing to leave here.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna (with a shudder): "Oh, Ramlal! Alas, he is married!"
  
  --
  
  Very sadly Sri Ramakrishna said, "Ah me! He even has children!"
  
  Thus rebuked M. sat speechless. His pride had received a blow. After a few minutes Sri Ramakrishna looked at him kindly and said affectionately: "You see, you have certain good signs. I know them by looking at a person's forehead, his eyes, and so on. Tell me, now, what kind of person is your wife? Has she spiritual attributes, or is she under the power of avidya?"
  
  --
  
  M. had yet to learn the distinction between knowledge and ignorance. Up to this time his conception had been that one got knowledge from books and schools. Later on he gave up this false conception. He was taught that to know God is knowledge, and not to know Him, ignorance. When Sri Ramakrishna exclaimed, "And you are a man of knowledge!", M.'s ego was again badly shocked.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch. The room was filled with devotees,3
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna barely heard these words. While listening he became absent-minded.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was standing still, surrounded by a few devotees, and Narendra was singing. M. had never heard anyone except the Master sing so sweetly. When he looked at Sri Ramakrishna he was struck with wonder; for the Master stood motionless, with eyes transfixed. He seemed not even to breathe. A devotee told M. that the Master was in samadhi. M. had never before seen or heard of such a thing. Silent with wonder, he thought: "Is it possible for a man to be so oblivious of the outer world in the consciousness of God? How deep his faith and devotion must be to bring about such a state!"
  
  --
  
  The next day, too, was a holiday for M. He arrived at Dakshineswar at three o'clock in the afternoon. Sri Ramakrishna was in his room; Narendra, Bhavanath, and a few other devotees were sitting on a mat spread on the floor. They were all young men of nineteen or twenty. Seated on the small couch, Sri Ramakrishna was talking with them and smiling.
  
  --
  
  Presently the Master explained the cause of his laughter to the devotees, He said: "A man once fed a peacock with a pill of opium at four o'clock in the afternoon. The next day, exactly at that time, the peacock came back. It had felt the intoxication of the drug and returned just in time to have another dose."(All laugh.) M. thought this a very apt illustration. Even at home he had been unable to banish the thought of Sri Ramakrishna for a moment. His mind was constantly at Dakshineswar and he had counted the minutes until he should go again.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was having great fun with the young devotees; now and then he glanced at M. He noticed that M. sat in silence. The Master said to Ramlal: "You see, he is a little advanced in years, and therefore somewhat serious. He sits quiet while the youngsters are making merry." M. was then about twenty-eight years old.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said: "Just imagine Hanuman's state of mind. He didn't care for money, honour, creature comforts, or anything else. He longed only for God. When he was running away with the heavenly weapon that had been secreted in the crystal pillar, Mandodari began to tempt him with various fruits so that he might come down and drop the weapon.5 But he couldn't be tricked so easily. In reply to her persuasions he sang this song:
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna was singing the song he went into samadhi. Again the half-closed eyes and motionless body that one sees in his photograph. Just a minute before, the devotees had been making merry in his company. Now all eyes were riveted on him.
  
  --
  
  At five o'clock in the afternoon all the devotees except Narendra and M. took leave of the Master. As M. was walking in the temple garden, he suddenly came upon the Master talking to Narendra on the bank of the goose-pond. Sri Ramakrishna said to Narendra: "Look here. Come a little more often. You are a newcomer. On first acquaintance people visit each other quite often, as is the case with a lover and his sweetheart.
  
  --
  
  As they were returning to the Master's room, Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "When peasants go to market to buy bullocks for their ploughs, they can easily tell the good from the bad by touching their tails. On being touched there, some meekly lie down on the ground. The peasants recognize that these are without mettle and so reject them.
  
  --
  
  It was now late in the evening and time for M.'s departure; but he felt reluctant to go and instead went in search of Sri Ramakrishna. He had been fascinated by the Master's singing and wanted to hear more. At last he found the Master pacing alone in the natmandir in front of the Kali temple. A lamp was burning in the temple on either side of the image of the Divine Mother. The single lamp in the spacious natmandir blended light and darkness into a kind of mystic twilight, in which the figure of the Master could be dimly seen.
  
  M. had been enchanted by the Master's sweet music. With some hesitation he asked him whether there would be any more singing that evening. "No, not tonight", said Sri Ramakrishna after a little reflection. Then, as if remembering something, he added: "But I'm going soon to Balarm Bose's house in Calcutta. Come there and you'll hear me sing." M. agreed to go.
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna walked up and down the hall with M., he said to him: "Let me ask you something. What do you think of me?"
  
  M. remained silent. Again Sri Ramakrishna asked: "What do you think of me? How many annas of knowledge of God have I?"
  
  --
  
  M. bowed low before him and took his leave. He had gone as far as the main gate of the temple garden when he suddenly remembered something and came back to Sri Ramakrishna, who was still in the natmandir. In the dim light the Master, all alone, was pacing the hall, rejoicing in the Self as the lion lives and roams alone in the forest.
  
  --
  
  ABOUT EIGHT O'CLOCK in the morning Sri Ramakrishna went as planned to Balaram Bose's house in Calcutta. It was the day of the Dolayatra. Ram, Manomohan, Rakhal, Nityagopal, and other devotees were with him. M., too, came, as bidden by the Master.
  
  --
  
  Since his nephew Hriday's dismissal from the temple, Sri Ramakrishna had been living without an attendant. On account of his frequent spiritual moods he could hardly take care of himself. The lack of an attendant caused him great inconvenience.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was talking to Kli, the Divine Mother of the Universe. He said: "Mother, everyone says, 'My watch alone is right.' The Christians, the Brahmos, the Hindus, the Mussalmans, all say, 'My religion alone is true.' But, Mother, the fact is that nobody's watch is right. Who can truly understand Thee? But if a man prays to Thee with a yearning heart, he can reach Thee, through Thy grace, by any path. Mother, show me some time how the Christians pray to Thee in their churches. But Mother, what will people say if I go in? Suppose they make a fuss! Suppose they don't allow me to enter the Kli temple again! Well then, show me the Christian worship from the door of the church."
  
  --
  
  was taking him. He had only been told: "If you want to see a grog-shop, then come with me. You will see a huge jar of wine there." M. related this to Sri Ramakrishna, who laughed about it. The Master said: "The bliss of worship and communion with God is the true wine, the wine of ecstatic love. The goal of human life is to love God, Bhakti is the one essential thing. To know God through jnna and reasoning is extremely difficult."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in the drawing-room of Keshab Chandra Sen's house in Calcutta; it was five o'clock in the afternoon. When Keshab was told of his arrival, he came to the drawing-room dressed to go out, for he was about to call on a sick friend.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna spoke to Pratap and the other Brahmo devotees. M. was seated near by. Pointing to him, the Master said to Keshab: "Will you please ask him why he doesn't come to Dakshineswar any more? He repeatedly tells me he is not attached to his wife and children." M. had been paying visits to the Master for about a month; his absence for a time from Dakshineswar called forth this remark. Sri Ramakrishna had asked M. to write to him, if his coming were delayed.
  
  Pundit Samadhyayi was present. The Brahmo devotees introduced him to Sri Ramakrishna as a scholar well versed in the Vedas and the other scriptures. The Master said, "Yes, I can see inside him through his eyes, as one can see the objects in a room through the glass door."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was seated with his devotees in the drawing-room of Prankrishna Mukherji's house in Calcutta; it was between one and two o'clock in the afternoon. Since Colonel Viswanath4 lived in that neighbourhood, the Master intended to visit him before going to see Keshab at the Lily Cottage. A number of neighbours and other friends of Prankrishna had been invited to meet Sri Ramakrishna. They were all eager to hear his words.
  
  --
  
  PUNDIT ISWAR CHANDRA VIDYASAGAR was born in the village of Beersingh, not far from Kamarpukur, Sri Ramakrishna's birthplace. He was known as a great scholar, educator, writer, and philanthropist. One of the creators of modern Bengali, he was also well versed in Sanskrit grammar and poetry. His generosity made his name a household word with his countrymen, most of his income being given in charity to widows, orphans, indigent students, and other needy people. Nor was his compassion limited to human beings: he stopped drinking milk for years so that the calves should not be deprived of it, and he would not drive in a carriage for fear of causing discomfort to the horses. He was a man of indomitable spirit, which he showed when he gave up the lucrative position of principal of the Sanskrit College of Calcutta because of a disagreement with the authorities. His affection for his mother was especially deep. One day, in the absence of a ferryboat, he swam a raging river at the risk of his life to fulfil her wish that he should be present at his brother's wedding. His whole life was one of utter simplicity. The title Vidyasagar, meaning "Ocean of Learning", was given him in recognition of his vast erudition.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had long wanted to visit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar. Learning from M.
  
  that he was a teacher at Vidyasagar's school, the Master asked: "Can you take me to Vidyasagar? I should like very much to see him." M. told Iswar Chandra of Sri Ramakrishna's wish, and the pundit gladly agreed that M. should bring the Master, some Saturday afternoon at four o'clock. He only asked M. what kind of paramahamsa the Master was, saying, "Does he wear an ochre cloth?" M. answered: "No, sir. He is an unusual person. He wears a red-bordered cloth and polished slippers. He lives in a room in Rani Rasmani's temple garden. In his room there is a couch with a mattress and mosquito net. He has no outer indication of holiness. But he doesn't know anything except God. Day and night he thinks of God alone."
  
  On the afternoon of August 5 the Master left Dakshineswar in a hackney carriage, accompanied by Bhavanath, M., and Hazra. Vidyasagar lived in Badurbagan, in central Calcutta, about six miles from Dakshineswar. On the way Sri Ramakrishna talked with his companions; but as the carriage neared Vidyasagar's house his mood suddenly changed. He was overpowered with divine ecstasy. Not noticing this, M. pointed out the garden house where Raja Rammohan Roy had lived. The Master was annoyed and said, "I don't care about such things now." He was going into an ecstatic state.
  
  --
  
  Vidyasagar was about sixty-two years old, sixteen or seventeen years older than the Master. He lived in a two-storey house built in the English fashion, with lawns on all sides and surrounded by a high wall. After climbing the stairs to the second floor, Sri Ramakrishna and his devotees entered a room at the far end of which Vidyasagar was seated facing them, with a table in front of him. To the right of the table was a bench.
  
  --
  
  Vidyasagar rose to receive the Master. Sri Ramakrishna stood in front of the bench, with one hand resting on the table. He gazed at Vidyasagar, as if they had known each other before, and smiled in an ecstatic mood. In that mood he remained standing a few minutes. Now and then, to bring his mind back to normal consciousness, he said, "I shall have a drink of water."
  
  In the mean time the young members of the household and a few friends and relatives of Vidyasagar had gathered around. Sri Ramakrishna, still in an ecstatic mood, sat on the bench. A young man, seventeen or eighteen years old, who had come to Vidyasagar to seek financial help for his education, was seated there. The Master sat down at a little distance from the boy, saying in an abstracted mood: "Mother, this boy is very much attached to the world. He belongs to Thy realm of ignorance."
  
  --
  
  The pundit became silent. Sri Ramakrishna said: "Your activities are inspired by sattva.
  
  --
  
  The world of duality & Transcendental nature of Brahman Sri Ramakrishna's conversation now turned to the Knowledge of Brahman.
  
  --
  
  Then Sri Ramakrishna sang a song glorifying the Power of faith: If only I can pass away repeating Durga's name, How canst Thou then, O Blessed One,
  
  --
  
  After a time Sri Ramakrishna showed signs of regaining the normal state. He drew a deep breath and said with a smile: "The means of realizing God are ecstasy of love and devotion - that is, one must love God. He who is Brahman is addressed as the Mother.
  
  --
  
  In silent wonder they all sat listening to the Master's words. It seemed to them that the Goddess of Wisdom Herself, seated on Sri Ramakrishna's tongue was addressing these words not merely to Vidyasagar, but to all humanity for its good.
  
  --
  
  Vidyasagar remained silent. Sri Ramakrishna said with a laugh, "But even a ship can go there at this season."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna then took leave of Vidyasagar, who with his friends escorted the Master to the main gate, leading the way with a lighted candle in his hand. Before leaving the room, the Master prayed for the family's welfare, going into an ecstatic mood as he did so.
  
  --
  
  Vidyasagar and his friends bowed to Sri Ramakrishna, and the carriage started for Dakshineswar. But the little group, with the venerable Vidyasagar at their head holding the lighted candle, stood at the gate and gazed after the Master until he was out of sight.
  
  --
  
  THE MASTER WAS CONVERSING with Kedr and some other devotees in his room in the temple garden. Kedr was a government official and had spent several years at Dcc, in East Bengal, where he had become a friend of Vijay Goswami. The two would spend a great part of their time together, talking about Sri Ramakrishna and his spiritual experiences. Kedr had once been a member of the Brahmo Samaj. He followed the path of bhakti. Spiritual talk always brought tears to his eyes.
  
  It was five o'clock in the afternoon. Kedr was very happy that day, having arranged a religious festival for Sri Ramakrishna. A singer had been hired by Ram, and the whole day passed in joy.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was talking to Hazra on the long northeast verandah of his room, when M. arrived. He saluted the Master reverently.
  
  --
  
  As evening came on, the temples were lighted up. Sri Ramakrishna was seated on his small couch, meditating on the Divine Mother. Then he chanted the names of God.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna, who could read a man's inmost thought, said: "One doesn't lose consciousness by thinking of Him who is all Spirit, all Consciousness. Shivanath once remarked that too much thinking about God confounds the brain. Thereupon I said to him, 'How can one become unconscious by thinking of Consciousness?' "
  
  --
  
  Immediately Sri Ramakrishna said: "It is His will that we should run about a little. Then it is great fun. God has created the world in play, as it were. This is called Mahamaya, the Great Illusion. Therefore one must take refuge in the Divine Mother, the Cosmic Power Itself. It is She who has bound us with the shackles of illusion. The realization of God is possible only when those shackles are severed."
  
  --
  
  It was Monday, a few days before the Durga Puja, the festival of the Divine Mother. Sri Ramakrishna was in a very happy state of mind, for Narendra was with him. Narendra had brought two or three young members of the Brahmo Samaj to the temple garden.
  
  --
  
  Narendra had his midday meal with Sri Ramakrishna. Afterwards a temporary bed was made on the floor of the Master's room so that the disciples might rest awhile. A mat was spread, over which was placed a quilt covered with a white sheet. A few cushions and pillows completed the simple bed. Like a child, the Master sat near Narendranath on the bed. He talked with the devotees in great delight. With a radiant smile lighting his face, and his eyes fixed on Narendra, he was giving them various spiritual teachings, interspersing these with incidents from his own life.
  
  --
  
  When the music was over, Sri Ramakrishna held Narendra in his arms a long time and said, "You have made us so happy today!" The flood-gate of the Master's heart was open so wide, that night, that he could hardly contain himself for joy. It was eight o'clock in the evening. Intoxicated with divine love, he paced the long verandah north of his room. Now and then he could be heard talking to the Divine Mother. Suddenly he said in an excited voice, "What can you do to me?" Was the Master hinting that maya was helpless before him, since he had the Divine Mother for his support?
  
  --
  
  They Were talking thus when Sri Ramakrishna came to them and asked with a smile, "Well, what are you talking about?"
  
  --
  
  While the devotees were enjoying their meal, Sri Ramakrishna stood by and watched them with intense delight. That night the Master's joy was very great.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sang and danced, and the devotees danced around him.
  
  --
  
  With a sweet smile on his lips Sri Ramakrishna was standing on the northeast verandah, close to his own room.
  
  --
  
  The sannyasis belonging to the sect of Nanak entered the room and greeted the Master, saying, "Namo Narayanaya." Sri Ramakrishna asked them to sit down.
  
  --
  
  After a while Sri Ramakrishna came to them. M., too, was present.
  
  --
  
  Thus conversing, the Master came to the west end of the verandah. M stood by his side. Sri Ramakrishna had repeated again and again that God cannot be realized without discrimination and renunciation. This made M. extremely worried. He had married and was then a young man of twenty-eight, educated in college in the Western way. Having a sense of duty, he asked himself, "Do discrimination and dispassion mean giving up 'woman and gold'?" He was really at a loss to know what to do.
  
  --
  
  The doors of the temple were shut. Sri Ramakrishna sat down for his meal, and Narendra and the other devotees partook of the food offerings from the temple.
  
  --
  
  About nine o'clock in the morning M. was seated on the floor of the Master's room at Dakshineswar, near Sri Ramakrishna, who was reclining on the small couch. Rakhal was then living with the Master, and Narendra and Bhavanath visited him frequently.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna listened to the description, questioning M. now and then about the prayers conducted by Keshab. At last he said to M.: "Don't go hither and thither. Come here alone. Those who belong to the inner circle of my devotees will come only here.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to them with a smile: "I was going to take some sweets from the shelf, but no sooner did I put my hand on them than a lizard dropped on my body. At once I removed my hand. (All laugh.)
  
  --
  
  IT WAS FRIDAY, the day of the Lakshmi Puja. Keshab Chandra Sen had arranged a boat trip on the Ganges for Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was in his room talking with Vijay and Haralal. Some disciples of Keshab entered. Bowing before the Master, they said to him: "Sir, the steamer has arrived. Keshab Babu has asked us to take you there." A small boat was to carry the Master to the steamer. No sooner did he get into the boat than he lost outer consciousness in samdhi. Vijay was with him.
  
  M. was among the passengers. As the boat came alongside the steamer, all rushed to the railing to have a view of Sri Ramakrishna. Keshab became anxious to get him safely on board. With great difficulty the Master was brought back to consciousness of the world and taken to a cabin in the steamer. Still in an abstracted mood, he walked mechanically, leaning on a devotee for support. Keshab and the others bowed before him, but he was not aware of them. Inside the cabin there were a few chairs and a table. He was made to sit on one of the chairs, Keshab and Vijay occupying two others.
  
  Some devotees were also seated, most of them on the floor, while many others had to stand outside. They peered eagerly through the door and windows. Sri Ramakrishna again went into deep samdhi and became totally unconscious of the outer world.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was gradually becoming conscious of the outside world. Nilmadhav of Ghazipur and a Brahmo devotee were talking about Pavhari Baba. Another Brahmo devotee said to the Master: "Sir, these gentlemen visited Pavhari Baba. He lives in Ghazipur. He is a holy man like yourself." The Master could hardly talk; he only smiled.
  
  --
  
  Whereupon Sri Ramakrishna, taking upon himself, as it were, the agonies of all householders, sang a song complaining to the Divine Mother: Mother, this is the grief that sorely grieves my heart, That even with Thee for Mother, and though I am wide awake, There should be robbery in my house.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna became intoxicated with divine love and sang: If only I can pass away repeating Durga's name, How canst Thou then, O Blessed One,
  
  --
  
  Presently the latter arrived and inquired about the arrangements made for the Master's return to Dakshineswar. Then he bowed low and took leave of Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  Narendra, who lived in that quarter of the city, was sent for. In the mean time Sri Ramakrishna and the devotees were invited to the drawing-room upstairs. The floor of the room was covered with a carpet and a white sheet. A few cushions were lying about. On the wall hung an oil painting especially painted for Surendra, in which Sri Ramakrishna was pointing out to Keshab the harmony of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other religions. On seeing the picture Keshab had once said, "Blessed is the man who conceived the idea."
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was talking joyously with the devotees, when Narendra arrived. This made the Master doubly happy. He said to his young disciple, "We had a boat trip with Keshab today. Vijay and many other Brahmo devotees were there. (Pointing to M.) Ask him what I said to Keshab and Vijay about the mother and daughter observing their religious fast on Tuesdays, each on her own account, though the welfare of the one meant the welfare of the other. I also said to Keshab that trouble-makers like jatila and Kutila were necessary to lend zest to the play. (To M.) Isn't that so?"
  
  --
  
  It was late. Surendra had not yet returned. The Master had to leave for the temple garden, and a cab was brought for him. M. and Narendra saluted him and took their leave. Sri Ramakrishna's carriage started for Dakshineswar through the moonlit streets.
  
  --
  
  Many devotees had attended the morning devotions, and in the afternoon people from Calcutta and the neighbouring villages joined them. Shivanath, the great Brahmo devotee whom the Master loved dearly, was one of the large gathering of members of the Brahmo Samaj who had been eagerly awaiting Sri Ramakrishna's arrival.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna continued: "It is also true that after the vision of God the devotee desires to witness His lila. After the destruction of Ravana at Rama's hands, Nikasha, Ravana's mother, began to run away for fear of her life. Lakshmana said to Rama: 'Revered Brother, please explain this strange thing to me. This Nikasha is an old woman who has suffered a great deal from the loss of her many sons, and yet she is so afraid of losing her own life that she is taking to her heels!' Rama bade her come near, gave her assurance of safety, and asked her why she was running away. Nikasha answered: 'O
  
  --
  
  It was about half past eight when the evening worship began in the prayer hall. Soon the moon rose in the autumn sky and flooded the trees and creepers of the garden with its light. After prayer the devotees began to sing. Sri Ramakrishna was dancing, intoxicated with love of God. The Brahmo devotees danced around him to the accompaniment of drums and cymbals. All appeared to be in a very joyous mood. The place echoed and reechoed with God's holy name. When the music had stopped, Sri Ramakrishna prostrated himself on the ground and, making salutations to the Divine Mother again and again, said: "Bhagavata-Bhakta-Bhagavan! My salutations at the feet of the jnanis! My salutations at the feet of the bhaktas! I salute the bhaktas who believe in God with form, and I salute the bhaktas who believe in God without form. I salute the knowers of Brahman of olden times. And my salutations at the feet of the modern knowers of Brahman of the Brahmo Samaj!"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna, accompanied by Rakhal and several other devotees, came to Calcutta in a carriage and called for M. at the school where he was teaching. Then they all set out for the Maidan. Sri Ramakrishna wanted to see the Wilson Circus. As the carriage rolled along the crowded Chitpore Road, his joy was very great. Like a little child he leaned first out of one side of the carriage and then out of the other, talking to himself as if addressing the passers-by. To M. he said: "I find the attention of the people fixed on earthly things. They are all rushing about for the sake of their stomachs. No one is thinking of God."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "Did you see how that Englishwoman stood on one foot on her horse, while it ran like lightning? How difficult a feat that must be! She must have practised a long time. The slightest carelessness and she would break her arms or legs; she might even be killed. One faces the same difficulty leading the life of a householder. A few succeed in it through the grace of God and as a result of their spiritual practice. But most people fail. Entering the world, they become more and more involved in it; they drown in worldliness and suffer the agonies of death. A few only, like Janaka, have succeeded, through the power of their austerity, in leading the spiritual life as householders. Therefore spiritual practice is extremely necessary; otherwise one cannot rightly live in the world."
  
  --
  
  The conversation turned to the caste-system. Sri Ramakrishna said: "The caste-system can be removed by one means only, and that is the love of God. Lovers of God do not belong to any caste. The mind, body, and soul of a man become purified through divine love. Chaitanya and Nityananda scattered the name of Hari to everyone, including the pariah, and embraced them all. A brahmin without this love is no longer a brahmin.
  
  --
  
  The Master had come to Calcutta. In the evening he went to the house of Rajmohan, a member of the Brahmo Samaj, where Narendra and some of his young friends used to meet and worship according to the Brahmo ceremonies. Sri Ramakrishna wanted to see their worship. He was accompanied by M. and a few other devotees.
  
  The Master was very happy to see Narendra and expressed a desire to watch the young men at their worship. Narendra sang and then the worship began. One of the young men conducted it. He prayed, "O Lord, may we give up everything and be absorbed in Thee!" Possibly the youth was inspired by the Master's presence and so talked of utter renunciation. Sri Ramakrishna remarked in a whisper, "Much likelihood there is of that!"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was invited to Surendra's house in Calcutta; but first he went to the house of Manomohan in the neighbourhood.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna arrived at Surendra's house. Many devotees had assembled there, including Surendra's elder brother, who was a judge.
  
  --
  
  It was about four o'clock in the afternoon when Sri Ramakrishna arrived in Calcutta to attend the annual festival of the Brahmo Samaj, which was to be celebrated at Manilal Mallick's house. Besides M. and other devotees of the Master, Vijay Goswami and a number of Brahmos were present. Elaborate arrangements had been made to make the occasion a success. Vijay was to conduct the worship.
  
  --
  
  In the afternoon Sri Ramakrishna was seated on the west porch of his room in the temple garden at Dakshineswar. Among others, Baburam, Ramdayal, and M. were present. These three were going to spend the night with the Master. M. intended to stay the following day also, for he was having his Christmas holidays. Baburam had only recently begun to visit the Master.
  
  --
  
  A devotee from Nandanbagan entered the room with his friends. The Master looked at him and said, "Everything inside him can be seen through his eyes, as one sees the objects in a room through a glass door." This devotee and his brothers always celebrated the anniversary of the Brahmo Samaj at their house in Nandanbagan. Sri Ramakrishna had taken part in these festivals.
  
  --
  
  It was an early hour of the morning, about two or three o'clock. The room was dark. Sri Ramakrishna was seated on his bed and now and then conversed with the devotees.
  
  --
  
  It was afternoon. The Master was sitting in his room at Dakshineswar with M. and one or two other devotees. Several Marwari devotees arrived and saluted the Master. They requested Sri Ramakrishna to give them spiritual instruction. He smiled.
  
  --
  
  The Marwari devotees generally brought offerings of fruit, candy, and other sweets for the Master. But Sri Ramakrishna could hardly eat them. He would say: "They earn their money by falsehood. I can't eat their offerings." He said to the Marwaris: "You see, one can't strictly adhere to truth in business. There are ups and downs in business. Nanak once said, 'I was about to eat the food of unholy people, when I found it stained with blood.' A man should offer only pure things to holy men. He shouldn't give them food earned by dishonest means. God is realized by following the path of truth. One should always chant His name. Even while one is performing one's duties, the mind should be left with God. Suppose I have a carbuncle on my back. I perform my duties, but the mind is drawn to the carbuncle. It is good to repeat the name of Rama. 'The same Rama who was the son of King Dasaratha has created this world. Again, as Spirit, He pervades all beings. He is very near us; He is both within and without.' "
  
  --
  
  IT WAS AFTERNOON. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on his bed after a short noonday rest. Vijay, Balaram, M., and a few other devotees were sitting on the floor with their faces toward the Master. They could see the sacred river Ganges through the door.
  
  --
  
  Vijay was a paid preacher in the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, but there were many things about which he could not agree with the Samaj authorities. He came from a very noble family of Bengal noted for its piety and other spiritual qualities. Advaita Goswami, one of his remote ancestors, had been an intimate companion of Sri Chaitanya. Thus the blood of a great lover of God flowed in Vijay's veins. As an adherent of the Brahmo Samaj, Vijay no doubt meditated on the formless Brahman; but his innate love of God, inherited from his distinguished ancestors, had merely been waiting for the proper time to manifest itself in all its sweetness. Thus Vijay was irresistibly attracted by the God-intoxicated state of Sri Ramakrishna and often sought his company. He would listen to the Master's words with great respect, and they would dance together in an ecstasy of divine love.
  
  --
  
  At eight o'clock in the morning Sri Ramakrishna was seated on a mat spread on the floor of his room at Dakshineswar. Since it was a cold day, he had wrapped his body in his moleskin shawl. Prankrishna and M. were seated in front of him. Rakhal, too, was in the room. Prankrishna was a high government official and lived in Calcutta. Since he had had no offspring by his first wife, with her permission he had married a second time. By the second wife he had a son. Because he was rather stout, the Master addressed him now and then as "the fat brahmin". He had great respect for Sri Ramakrishna. Though a householder, Prankrishna studied the Vedanta and had been heard to say: "Brahman alone is real and the world illusory. I am He." The Master used to say to him: "In the Kaliyuga the life of a man depends on food. The path of devotion prescribed by Narada is best for this age."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch. He was in an ecstatic mood and looked at Rakhal. Suddenly he was filled with the tender feeling of parental love toward his young disciple and spiritual child. Presently he went into samdhi. The devotees sat speechless, looking at the Master with wondering eyes.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna went out on the southeast verandah of his room and sat down.
  
  --
  
  The Master said to Prankrishna with a smile: "Hazra is not a man to be trifled with. If one finds the big dargah here, then Hazra is the smaller dargah." All laughed at the Master's words. A certain gentleman, Navakumar by name, came to the door and stood there. At sight of the devotees he immediately left. "Oh! Egotism incarnate!" Sri Ramakrishna remarked.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna assumed the attitude of Sri Radha to Krishna and went into deep samdhi while singing the song. He stood there, still as a picture on canvas, with tears of divine joy running down his cheeks.
  
  --
  
  At the approach of evening Sri Ramakrishna went out to look at the sacred river. The lamp was lighted in his room. The Master chanted the hallowed name of the Divine Mother and meditated on Her. Then the evening worship began in the various temples.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna arrived at Govinda Mukherji's house at Belgharia, near Calcutta.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna began his midday meal with the devotees. It was about one o'clock. A devotee sang in the courtyard below:
  
  --
  
  Hearing the song, Sri Ramakrishna went into samdhi; his whole body became still, and his hand remained touching the plate of food. He could eat no more. After a long time his mind came down partially to the plane of the sense world, and he said, "I want to go downstairs." A devotee led him down very carefully. Still in an abstracted mood, he sat near the singer. The song had ended. The Master said to him very humbly, "Sir, I want to hear the chanting of the Mother's name again."
  
  --
  
  In Kedr's opinion Sri Ramakrishna was such an Incarnation.
  
  --
  
  About nine o'clock in the morning the Master was seated in his room with Rakhal, M., and a few other devotees. It was the day of the new moon. As usual with him on such days, Sri Ramakrishna entered again and again into communion with the Divine Mother.
  
  --
  
  During these days Sri Ramakrishna's heart overflowed with motherly love like the love Yaoda felt for Krishna. So he kept Rakhal with him. Rakhal felt toward the Master as a child feels toward its mother. He would sit leaning on the Master's lap as a young child leans on its mother while sucking her breast.
  
  Rakhal was thus seated by the Master when a man entered the room and said that a high tide was coming in the Ganges. The Master and the devotees ran to the Panchavati to see it. At the sight of a boat being tossed by the tide, Sri Ramakrishna exclaimed: "Look! Look! I hope nothing happens to it."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna returned to his room with the devotees. Looking at a picture of Yaoda, on the wall, he said: "It is not well done. She looks like a garland-seller."
  
  --
  
  It was Sri Ramakrishna's birthday. Many of his disciples and devotees wanted to celebrate the happy occasion at the Dakinewar temple garden.
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna listened to the song with folded hands, his mind soared to a far-off realm. He remained absorbed in meditation a long time. After a while Kalikrishna whispered something to Bhavanath. Then he bowed before the Master and rose. Sri Ramakrishna was surprised. He asked, "Where are you going?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna did not feel well; so he decided not to bathe in the Ganges. About nine o'clock a few jars of water were taken from the river, and with the help of the devotees he finished his bath on the verandah east of his room.
  
  --
  
  A certain woman, about thirty-one years old and a great devotee, often visited Sri Ramakrishna and held him in high respect. She had been much impressed by Nityagopal's spiritual state and, looking upon him as her own son, often invited him to her house.
  
  --
  
  Presently some devotees from Konnagar arrived, singing kirtan to the accompaniment of drums and cymbals. As they reached the northeast verandah of Sri Ramakrishna's room, the Master joined in the music, dancing with them intoxicated with divine joy.
  
  --
  
  When it was time for his noon meal, Sri Ramakrishna put on a new yellow cloth and sat on the small couch. His golden complexion, blending with his yellow cloth, enchanted the eyes of the devotees.
  
  After his meal Sri Ramakrishna rested a little on the small couch. Inside and outside his room crowded the devotees, among them Kedr, Suresh, Ram, Manomohan, Girindra, Rakhal, Bhavanath, and M. Rakhal's father was also present.
  
  --
  
  Rakhal's father was sitting in the room. At that time Rakhal was staying with the Master. After his mother's death his father had married a second time. Now and then he came to Dakinewar because of Rakhal's being there. He did not raise much objection to his son's living with the Master. Being a wealthy man of the world, he was always involved in litigation. There were lawyers and deputy magistrates among Sri Ramakrishna's visitors.
  
  --
  
  The singing continued. Sri Ramakrishna danced with the devotees. They sang: The black bee of my mind is drawn in sheer delight To the blue lotus flower of Mother Syama's feet, The blue flower of the feet of Kli, iva's Consort; Tasteless, to the bee, are the blossoms of desire.
  
  --
  
  The devotees were ready to return home. One by one they saluted the Master. At the sight of Bhavanath Sri Ramakrishna said: "Don't go away today. The very sight of you inspires me." Bhavanath had not yet entered into worldly life. A youth of twenty, he had a fair complexion and handsome features. He shed tears of joy on hearing the name of God. The Master looked on him as the embodiment of Narayana.
  
  --
  
  Even as he spoke these words the Master underwent a strange transformation. He looked at Rakhal with the infinite tenderness of a mother and affectionately uttered the name of Govinda. Did he see in Rakhal the manifestation of God Himself? The disciple was a young boy of pure heart who had renounced all attraction to lust and greed. And Sri Ramakrishna was intoxicated day and night with love of God. At the sight of Rakhal his eyes expressed the tender feelings of a mother, a love like that which had filled the heart of Mother Yaoda at the sight of the Baby Krishna. The devotees gazed at the Master in wonder as he went into deep samdhi. As his soul soared into the realm of Divine Consciousness, his body became motionless, his eyes were fixed on the tip of his nose, and his breathing almost ceased.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was visiting Balarm in Calcutta, with Narendra, Bhavanath, Rkhl , M., and others. Balarm, at the Master's bidding, had invited some of the young devotees to lunch. Sri Ramakrishna often said to him, "Feed them now and then; that will confer on you the merit of feeding holy men." The Master looked on his young disciples, yet untouched by "woman and gold", as veritable embodiments of God.
  
  A few days earlier Sri Ramakrishna had been to Keshab's house with Narendra and Rkhl to see a performance of the play entitled Nava-Vrindvan. Narendra had taken part in the performance, in which Keshab had played the role of Pavhari Baba.
  
  --
  
  The worship was over in the temples and the bells rang for the food offerings in the shrines. As it was a summer noon the sun was very hot. The flood-tide began in the Ganges and a breeze came up from the south. Sri Ramakrishna was resting in his room after his meal.
  
  --
  
  Presently a few elderly members of the Brahmo Samaj arrived. The room was full of devotees. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on his bed, facing the north. He kept smiling, and talked to the Brahmo devotees in a joyous mood.
  
  --
  
  Then, addressing the devotees, Sri Ramakrishna said: "The spiritual wisdom of worldly people is seen only on rare occasions. It is like the flame of a candle. No, it is rather like a single ray of the sun passing through a chink in a wall. Worldly people chant the name of God, but there is no zeal behind it. It is like children's swearing by God, having learnt the word from the quarrels of their aunts.
  
  --
  
  By this time Sri Ramakrishna had become better acquainted with Adhar, who related the cause of his friend's grief. The Master sang, as if to himself: To arms! To arms, O man! Death storms your house in battle array!
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna began to talk with Adhar on the verandah north of his room.
  
  --
  
  Surendra, a beloved lay disciple of the Master, had invited him to his house on the auspicious occasion of the Annapurna Puja. It was about six o'clock when Sri Ramakrishna arrived there with some of his devotees. The image of the Divine Mother had been installed in the worship hall. At Her feet lay Hibiscus flowers and vilwa-leaves; from Her neck hung a garland of flowers. Sri Ramakrishna entered the hall and bowed down before the image. Then he went to the open courtyard, where he sat on a carpet, surrounded by his devotees and disciples. A few bolsters lay on the carpet, which was covered with a white linen sheet. He was asked to lean against one of these, but he pushed it aside.
  

2.02_-_Meeting_With_the_Goddess, #The Hero with a Thousand Faces, #Joseph Campbell, #Mythology
  
  The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, translated into English with an introduc
  tion by Swami Nikhilananda (New York, 1942), p. 9.

2.03_-_Karmayogin_A_Commentary_on_the_Isha_Upanishad, #Isha Upanishad, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  to priestly & learned orthodoxy, but natural to the Jivanmukta.
  Sri Ramakrishna, when he had attained identity with the Lord,
  could not indeed return to the world as a householder or bear

2.05_-_Apotheosis, #The Hero with a Thousand Faces, #Joseph Campbell, #Mythology
  icing either straight or sidewise. It will taste sweet either way" (The Gospel of
  Sri Ramakrishna, New York, 1941, p. 559).
  Matthew, 7:1.

2.10_-_2.19_-_THE_MASTER_WITH_THE_BRAHMO_DEVOTEES_(II), #Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, #Sri Ramakrishna, #Hinduism
  
  Sri Ramakrishna paid a visit to Benimadhav Pal's garden house at Sinthi, near Calcutta, on the occasion of the semi-annual festival of the Brahmo Samaj. Many devotees of the Samaj were present and sat around the Master. Now and then some of them asked him questions.
  
  --
  
  About five o'clock in the afternoon Sri Ramakrishna arrived at the temple of the Brahmo Samaj in Nandanbagan, accompanied by M., Rakhal, and a few other devotees. At first the Master sat in the drawing-room on the ground floor, where the Brahmo devotees gradually assembled. Rabindranath Tagore and a few other members of the Tagore family were present on this occasion.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was asked to go to the worship hall on the second floor. A dais had been built on the eastern side of the room. There were a few chairs and a piano in the hall. The Brahmo worship was to begin at dusk.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna looked at the devotees assembled in the worship hall and said: "It is very good to gather in this way, now and then, and think of God and sing His name and glories. But the worldly man's yearning for God is momentary. It lasts as long as a drop of water on a red-hot frying-pan."
  
  --
  
  Some of the Brahmo ladies sat on chairs, with music books in their hands. The songs of the Brahmo Samaj were sung to the accompaniment of harmonium and piano. Sri Ramakrishna's joy was unbounded. The invocation was followed by a prayer, and then the worship began. The acharyas, seated on the platform, recited from the Vedas: Om. Thou art our Father. Give us right knowledge; do not destroy us! We bow to Thee.
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna heard these hymns, he went into a spiritual mood. After this an chrya read a paper.
  
  The worship was over. Most of the devotees went downstairs or to the courtyard for fresh air while the refreshments were being made ready. It was about nine o'clock in the evening. The hosts were so engrossed with the other invited guests that they forgot to pay any attention to Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  The Master, with Rakhal and the others, followed the crowd to the second floor. No room could be found for him inside the hall. Finally, with great difficulty, a place was found for him in a dusty corner. A brahmin woman served some curry, but Sri Ramakrishna could not eat it. He ate luchi with salt and took some sweets.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna got into a carriage: but who was to pay the hire? The hosts could not be found. Referring to this incident afterwards, the Master said to the devotees, jokingly: "The boys went to our hosts for the carriage hire. First they were put out, but at last they managed to get together three rupees. Our hosts refused to pay the extra two nns and said, 'No, that will do.' "
  
  --
  
  The following Sunday a kirtan was arranged at the house of Ram, one of the Master's householder devotees. Sri Ramakrishna graced the occasion with his presence. The musicians sang about Radha's pangs at her separation from Krishna: Radha said to her friends: "I have loved to see Krishna from my childhood. My finger-nails are worn off from counting the days on them till I shall see Him. Once He gave me a garland. Look, it has withered, but I have not yet thrown it away. Alas! Where has the Moon of Krishna risen now? Has that Moon gone away from my firmament, afraid of the Rahu of my pique? Alas! Shall I ever see Krishna again? O my beloved Krishna, I have never been able to look at You to my heart's complete satisfaction. I have only one pair of eyes; they blink and so hinder my vision. And further, on account of streams of tears I could not see enough of my Beloved. The peacock feather on the crown of His head shines like arrested lightning. The peacocks, seeing Krishna's dark-cloud complexion, would dance in joy, spreading their tails. O friends, I shall not be able to keep my life-breath. After my death, place my body on a branch of the dark tamala tree and inscribe on my body Krishna's sweet name."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was in his room at Dakshineswar, conversing with the devotees. It was about nine o'clock in the morning.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna returned to his room and sat on the west porch. Rakhal, M., Nakur Vaishnav, and other devotees were with him. Nakur had been known to the Master for about twenty-five years. He was a devotee of Gauranga and had a small shop which Sri Ramakrishna had often visited when he first came to Calcutta from Kamarpukur.
  
  --
  
  The musician sat spellbound at Sri Ramakrishna's ecstasy; then he said with folded hands, "Won't you please rid me of my worldliness?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had been invited to visit the homes of his devotees Balaram, Adhar, and Ram in Calcutta. Devotional music had been arranged by Adhar and Ram. The Master was accompanied in the carriage by Rakhal, M., and others.
  
  As they drove along, Sri Ramakrishna said to the devotees: "You see, sin flies away when love of God grows in a man's heart, even as the water of the reservoir dug in a meadow dries up under the heat of the sun. But one cannot love God if one feels attracted to worldly things, to 'woman and gold'. Merely taking the vow of monastic life will not help a man if he is attached to the world. It is like swallowing your own spittle after spitting it out on the ground."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna and his party arrived at Balaram's house. Yajnanath of Nandanbagan came to invite the Master to his house at four o'clock in the afternoon. Sri Ramakrishna agreed to go if he felt well. After Yajnanath's departure the Master went into an ecstatic mood. He said to the Divine Mother: "Mother, what is all this? Stop! What are these things Thou art showing to me? What is it that Thou dost reveal to me through Rakhal and others? The form is disappearing. But, Mother, what people call 'man' is only a pillow-case, nothing but a pillow-case. Consciousness is Thine alone.
  
  --
  
  After the music Sri Ramakrishna conversed with the devotees.
  
  --
  
  From Adhar's house Sri Ramakrishna went to Ram's house. Ramchandra Dutta, one of the chief householder disciples of the Master, lived in Calcutta. He had been one of the first to announce the Master as an Incarnation of God. The Master had visited his house a number of times and unstintingly praised the devotion and generosity of this beloved disciple. A few of the Master's disciples made Ram's house virtually their own dwelling-place.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna asked the kathak to recite the episode of Uddhava, the friend and devotee of Krishna.
  
  --
  
  ABOUT NINE O'CLOCK in the morning the devotees began to arrive at the temple garden. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the porch of his room facing the Ganges. M., who had spent the previous night with the Master, sat near him. Balarm and several other devotees were present. Rkhl lay on the floor, resting his head on the Master's lap. For the past few days the Master had been regarding Rkhl as the Baby Krishna.
  
  Seeing Trailokya passing on his way to the Kali temple, Sri Ramakrishna asked Rkhl to get up. Trailokya bowed to the Master.
  
  --
  
  Trailokya gave a suitable reply and went on his way. After a while Ram Chatterji, the priest of the Vishnu temple, came up to Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  The Master asked Balarm to stay for his midday meal. Before the meal Sri Ramakrishna described to the devotees the days of his God-intoxication. Rkhl, M., Ramlal, and a few others were present.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna went on describing the different experiences he had had while worshipping the Divine Mother as Her handmaid. He said: "Once I imitated a professional woman, singer for a man singer. He said my acting was quite correct and asked me where I had learnt it." The Master repeated his imitation for the devotees, and they burst into laughter.
  
  --
  
  Then Sri Ramakrishna sat up on his bed and told Manilal about Bhavanath's devotion to God.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna asked M., "Well, what is the cause of bhakti? Why should the spiritual feeling of young boys like Bhavanath be awakened?" M. remained silent.
  
  --
  
  Reassurance to the devotees & Parable of the tigress Sri Ramakrishna spoke reassuringly to the devotees.
  
  --
  
  Must they too renounce it?" Sri Ramakrishna, who could see into a man's innermost thought, said very tenderly: "Suppose an office clerk has been sent to jail. He undoubtedly leads a prisoner's life there. But when he is released from jail, does he cut capers in the street? Not at all. He gets a job as a clerk again and goes on working as before. Even after attaining Knowledge through the guru's grace, one can very well live in the world as a Jivanmukta." Thus did Sri Ramakrishna reassure those who were living as householders.
  
  --
  
  After a time Bhagavati, an old maidservant of the temple proprietor, entered the room and saluted the Master from a distance. Sri Ramakrishna bade her sit down. The Master had known her for many years. In her younger days she had lived a rather immoral life; but the Master's compassion was great. Soon he began to converse with her.
  
  --
  
  Emboldened by the Master's words, Bhagavati approached and saluted him, touching his feet. Like a man stung by a scorpion, Sri Ramakrishna stood up and cried out, "Govinda! Govinda!" A big jar of Ganges water stood in a comer of the room. He hurried there, panting, and washed with the holy water the spot the maidservant had touched.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna consoled her and said in a very kindly tone, "You should salute me from a distance." In order to relieve her mind of all embarrassment, the Master said tenderly, "Listen to a few songs."
  
  --
  
  It was afternoon. Sri Ramakrishna was telling the devotees about his experiences during his God-intoxicated state.
  
  --
  
  It was about five o'clock in the afternoon. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the steps of his verandah. Hazra, Rkhl, and M. were near him. Hazra had the attitude of a Vedantist: "I am He."
  
  --
  
  Lying on the mat and resting his head on a pillow, Sri Ramakrishna continued the conversation. He said to M: "My legs are aching. Please stroke them gently." Thus, out of his infinite compassion, the Master allowed his disciple to render him personal service.
  
  --
  
  It was a summer day. The evening service in the Kali temple was over. Sri Ramakrishna stood before the image of the Divine Mother and waved the fan a few minutes.
  
  --
  
  He hailed from the village of Barasat not far from Calcutta. His father, a highly spiritual soul, had visited Sri Ramakrishna many times. Tarak often went to Ram's house and used to go to Dakshineswar in the company of Ram and Nityagopal. He worked in a business firm, but his attitude toward the world was one of utter indifference.
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna came out of the temple, he saw Ram, Kedar, M., Tarak, and other devotees standing outside. He showed his affection for Tarak by touching his chin. He was very happy to see him.
  
  --
  
  Master's exhortation to a devotee to go forward Kedar believed in certain queer practices of a religious sect to which he had once belonged. He held the Master's big toe in his hand, believing that in this way the Master's spiritual power would be transmitted to him. As Sri Ramakrishna regained partial consciousness, he said, "Mother, what can he do to me by holding my toe?" Kedar sat humbly with folded hands. Still in an ecstatic mood, the Master said to Kedar: "Your mind is still attracted by 'woman and gold'. What is the use of saying you don't care for it? Go forward. Beyond the forest of sandalwood there are many more things: mines of silver, gold, diamonds, and other precious stones. Having a glimpse of spirituality, don't think you have attained everything." The Master was again in an ecstatic mood. He said to the Divine Mother, "Mother, take him away." At these words Kedar's throat dried up.
  
  --
  
  At the sight of Rkhl, Sri Ramakrishna was again overpowered with a spiritual mood.
  
  --
  
  Describing his early life, Sri Ramakrishna said to them: "During my younger days the men and women of Kamarpukur were equally fond of me. They loved to hear me sing. I could imitate other people's gestures and conversation and I used to entertain them that way. The women would put aside things for me to eat. No one distrusted me.
  
  --
  
  After his meal Sri Ramakrishna sat on the couch. He had not yet found time to rest.
  
  --
  
  The Master was very happy to see a musician who had come with the devotees from Belghari. Some time before, Sri Ramakrishna had gone into an ecstatic mood on hearing his devotional music. At the Master's request the musician sang a few songs, one of which described the awakening of the Kundalini and the six centres: Awake, Mother! Awake! How long Thou hast been asleep In the lotus of the Muladhara!
  
  --
  
  It was dusk. Sri Ramakrishna had had no rest since his midday meal. He had talked unceasingly to the devotees about God. At last the visitors took their leave and went home.
  
  --
  
  It was a holiday on account of the Hindu religious festival Dasahara. Among the devotees who visited Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar that day were Adhar, M., and Rkhl 's father. Rkhl 's father's father-in-law was also present. All were seated on the floor of the Master's room.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was resting in his room in the temple garden at Dakshineswar. It was afternoon. Adhar and M. arrived and saluted the Master. A Tantrik devotee also came in. Rkhl , Hazra, and Ramlal were staying with Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had been invited to the great religious festival at Pnihti, near Calcutta. This "Festival of the Flattened Rice" was inaugurated by Raghunath Das, a disciple of Sri Chaitanya. It is said that Raghunath used to run away from home, secretly practise his devotions, and enjoy the bliss of spiritual ecstasy. One day Nityananda said to him: "Thief! You run away from home and enjoy the love of God all alone. You hide it from us. I shall punish you today. You must arrange a religious festival and entertain the devotees with flattened rice." Since then the festival has been annually celebrated at Pnihti by the Vaishnavas. Thousands of the followers of Sri Chaitanya participate in it. Its chief feature is the singing of the names and glories of God, and the dancing of the devotees in religious fervour. The centre of the festivity is the temple of Radha-Krishna, built on the bank of the Ganges.
  
  The Master had been invited to the festival by Mani Sen, who was the custodian of the temple. Ram, M., Rkhl , Bhavanath, and a few other disciples went with the Master in a carriage. On his way to Pnihti Sri Ramakrishna was in a light mood and joked with the youngsters. But as soon as the carriage reached the place of the festival, the Master, to the utter amazement of' the devotees, shot into the crowd. He joined the kirtan party of Navadvip Goswami, Mani Sen's guru, and danced, totally forgetting the world. Every now and then he stood still in samdhi, carefully supported by Navadvip Goswami for fear he might fall to the ground. Thousands of devotees were gathered together for the festival. Wherever one looked there was a forest of human heads. The crowd seemed to become infected by the Master's divine fervour and swayed to and fro, chanting the name of God, until the very air seemed to reverberate with it. Drums, cymbals, and other instruments produced melodious sounds. The atmosphere became intense with spiritual fervour. The devotees felt that Gaurnga himself was being manifested in the person of Sri Ramakrishna. Flowers were showered from all sides on his feet and head. The shouting of the name of Hari was heard even at a distance, like the rumbling of the ocean.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna entered by turn into all the moods of ecstasy. In deep samdhi he stood still, his face radiating a divine glow. In the state of partial consciousness he danced, sometimes gently and sometimes with the vigour of a lion. Again, regaining consciousness of the world, he sang, himself leading the chorus: Behold, the two brothers have come, who weep while chanting Hari's name,
  
  --
  
  Only a small number could enter. The rest stood outside the portal and jostled with one another to have a look at Sri Ramakrishna. In a mood of intoxication he began to dance in the courtyard of the shrine. Every now and then his body stood transfixed in deep samdhi. Hundreds of people around him shouted the name of God, and thousands outside caught the strain and raised the cry with full-throated voices. The echo travelled over the Ganges, striking a note in the hearts of people in the boats on the holy river, and they too chanted the name of God.
  
  When the kirtan was over, Mani Sen took Sri Ramakrishna and Navadvip Goswami into a room and served them with refreshments. Afterwards Ram, M., and the other devotees were also served with the prasad.
  
  --
  
  Navadvip was also near him. Mani offered the carriage hire to Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  Navadvip introduced his son to the Master. The young man was a student of the scriptures. He saluted Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  Mani Sen said good-bye to the invited brahmins and Vaishnavas with suitable gifts of money. He offered five rupees to Sri Ramakrishna. The latter said that he could not possibly accept any money. But Mani insisted. The Master then asked him in the name of his guru not to press him. Mani requested him again to accept the offering. Sri Ramakrishna asked M., in a distressed voice, whether he should take the money. The disciple made a vehement protest and said, "No, sir. By no means."
  
  Friends of Mani Sen gave the money to Rkhl , requesting him to buy some mangoes and sweets for the Master. Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "I have definitely said to Mani that I would not accept the money. I feel free now. But Rkhl has accepted it. His is now the responsibility."
  
  Sri Ramakrishna, accompanied by the devotees, took a carriage to return to Dakshineswar. They were going to pass the temple garden of Mati Seal on the way. For a long time the Master had been asking M. to take him to the reservoir in the garden in order that he might teach him how to meditate on the formless God. There were tame fish in the reservoir. Nobody harmed them. Visitors threw puffed rice and other bits of food into the water, and the big fish came in swarms to eat the food. Fearlessly the fish swam in the water and sported there joyously.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was at Balarm Bose's house in Calcutta. Rkhl and M. were seated near him. The Master was in ecstasy. He conversed with the devotees in an abstracted mood.
  
  --
  
  It was a hot day in June 1883. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the steps of the iva temples in the temple garden. M. arrived with ice and other offerings and sat down on the steps after saluting the Master.
  
  --
  
  A little later Sri Ramakrishna began to talk to a devotee privately, on the verandah north of his room. He said: "It is good to meditate in the small hours of the morning and at dawn. One should also meditate daily after dusk." He instructed the devotee about meditation on the Personal God and on the Impersonal Reality.
  
  --
  
  After a time Sri Ramakrishna began to converse again.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna arrived at Adhar's house in Calcutta. Rkhl, M., and other devotees were with the Master. Adhar had arranged to have Rajnaraya, the famous singer, and his party, recite the Chandi.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was in deep samdhi.
  
  --
  
  It was about four o'clock in the afternoon when Sri Ramakrishna, with Ramlal and one or two other devotees, started from Dakshineswar for Calcutta in a carriage. As the carriage passed the gate of the Kli temple, they met M. coming on foot with four mangoes in his hand. The carriage stopped and M. saluted the Master. Sri Ramakrishna was going to visit some of his devotees in Calcutta.
  
  --
  
  M. got joyfully into the carriage. Having received an English education, he did not believe in the tendencies inherited from previous births. But he had admitted a few days before that it was on account of Adhar's good tendencies from past births that he showed such great devotion to the Master. Later on he had thought about this subject and had discovered that he was not yet completely convinced about inherited tendencies. He had come to Dakshineswar that day to discuss the matter with Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna laughed for some time, and said at last. "Really and truly I have no pride-no, not even the slightest bit."
  
  --
  
  The carriage drove on. They were approaching Adhar's house. Sri Ramakrishna said to M., "Dwell in the truth and you will certainly realize God."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna arrived at Adhar's house and took a seat in the parlour. Ramlal, Adhar, M., and the other devotees sat near him. Rkhl was staying with his father in Calcutta.
  
  --
  
  Finding that the Master was eager to see Rkhl , Adhar at once sent his carriage to fetch him. Adhar had been yearning to see the Master that day, but he had not definitely known that Sri Ramakrishna was coming.
  
  --
  
  It was dusk and the lamps were lighted. Sri Ramakrishna saluted the Divine Mother with folded hands and sat quietly absorbed in meditation. Then he began to chant the names of God in his sweet voice: "Govinda! Govinda! Satchidananda! Hari! Hari!" Every word he uttered showered nectar on the ears of the devotees.
  
  --
  
  Adhar served Sri Ramakrishna with fruits and sweets. The Master left for Jadu Mallick's house.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna entered the room in Jadu's house where the Divine Mother was worshipped. He stood before the image, which had been decorated with flowers, garlands, and sandal-paste, and which radiated a heavenly beauty and splendour. Lights were burning before the pedestal. A priest was seated before the image. The Master asked one of his companions to offer a rupee in the shrine, according to the Hindu custom.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna stood a long time with folded hands before the blissful image, the devotees standing behind him. Gradually he went into samdhi, his body becoming motionless and his eyes fixed.
  
  --
  
  His body was stamped with the name of God, according to the Vaishnava custom, and he carried in his hand a small bag containing his rosary. He had visited the Master, now and then, at Dakshineswar. But most of the Vaishnavas held narrow religious views; they criticized the Vedantists and the followers of the iva cult. Sri Ramakrishna soon began to speak.
  
  --
  
  Taking advantage of the holiday, many householder devotees visited Sri Ramakrishna in his room at the Dakshineswar temple garden. The Young devotees, mostly students, generally came on week-days. Sometimes the Master asked his intimate disciples to come on a Tuesday or a Saturday, days that he considered very auspicious for special religious instruction. Adhar, Rkhl , and M. had come from Calcutta in a hired carriage.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had enjoyed a little rest after his midday meal. The room had an atmosphere of purity and holiness. On the walls hung pictures of gods and goddesses, among them one of Christ rescuing the drowning Peter. Outside the room were plants laden with fragrant flowers, and the Ganges could be seen flowing toward the south.
  
  The Master was seated on the small couch, facing the north, and the devotees sat on mats and carpets spread on the floor. All eyes were directed toward him. Mani Mallick, an old Brahmo devotee about sixty-five years of age, came to pay his respects to the Master. He had returned a few months earlier from a pilgrimage to Benares and was recounting his experiences to Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  It was three or four o'clock in the afternoon. M. found Sri Ramakrishna seated on the couch in an abstracted mood. After some time he heard him talking to the Divine Mother. The Master said, "O Mother, why hast Thou given him only a particle?"
  
  --
  
  Rkhl was in the room. Sri Ramakrishna was still in a state of partial consciousness when he said to Rkhl : "You were angry with me, weren't you? Do you know why I made you angry? There was a reason. Only then would the medicine work. The surgeon first brings an abscess to a head. Only then does he apply a herb so that it may burst and dry up."
  
  --
  
  It was dusk. The evening service began in the temples. Sri Ramakrishna was chanting the names of the gods and goddesses. He was seated on the small couch, with folded hands, and became absorbed in contemplation of the Divine Mother. The world outside was flooded with moonlight, and the devotees inside the Master's room sat in silence and looked at his serene face.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was still in a semi-conscious state. After a few minutes he said to the devotees: "Tell me your doubts. I shall explain everything."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was at Balarm Bose's house in Calcutta. He was explaining the mystery of Divine Incarnation to the devotees.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna then went to Adhar's house. After dusk he sang and danced in Adhar's drawing-room. M., Rkhl , and other devotees were present. After the music he sat down, still in an ecstatic mood. He said to Rkhl: "This religious fervour is not like rain in the rainy season, which comes in torrents and goes in torrents. It is like an image of iva that has not been set up by human hands but is a natural one that has sprung up, as it were, from the bowels of the earth. The other day you left Dakshineswar in a temper. I prayed to the Divine Mother to forgive you."
  
  --
  
  IT WAS SUNDAY, the first day after the full moon. Sri Ramakrishna was resting after his noon meal. The midday offering had been made in the temples, and the temple doors were closed.
  
  --
  
  At two or three o'clock in the afternoon Adhar Sen and Balarm arrived. After saluting Sri Ramakrishna, they sat on the floor and asked him if he was well. The Master said, "Yes, I am well physically, but a little troubled in mind." He did not refer to Hriday and his troubles.
  
  --
  
  Captain and the other devotees remained, waiting for his return. M. accompanied the Master to the verandah, where Narendra was talking with Hazra. Sri Ramakrishna knew that Hazra always indulged in dry philosophical discussions. Hazra would say: "The world is unreal, like a dream. Worship, food offerings to the Deity, and so forth, are only hallucinations of the mind. The aim of spiritual life is to meditate on one's own real Self." Then he would repeat, "I am He." But, with all that, he had a soft corner in his heart for money, material things, and people's attention.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna smiled and said to Hazra and Narendra, "Hello! What are you talking about?"
  
  --
  
  It was almost dusk when most of the devotees, including Narendra, took leave of the Master. Sri Ramakrishna went out and looked at the Ganges for a few minutes from the west porch. Two priests were bathing in preparation for the evening worship. Young men of the village were strolling in the garden or standing on the concrete embankment, gazing at the murmuring river. Others, perhaps more thoughtful, were walking about in the solitude of the Panchavati.
  
  It became dark. The maidservant lighted the lamp in Sri Ramakrishna's room and burnt incense. The evening worship began in the twelve temples of iva and in the shrines of Krishna and Kli.
  
  --
  
  While the Master was meditating in this fashion on the Divine Mother, a few devotees, coming in from the garden, gathered in his room. Sri Ramakrishna sat down on the small couch. He said to the devotees: "Narendra, Bhavanath, Rkhl , and devotees like them belong to the group of the nityasiddhas; they are eternally free. Religious practice on their part is superfluous. Look at Narendra. He doesn't care about anyone. One day he was going with me in Captain's carriage. Captain wanted him to take a good seat, but Narendra didn't even look at him. He is independent even of me. He doesn't tell me all he knows, lest I should praise his scholarship before others. He is free from ignorance and delusion. He has no bonds. He is a great soul. He has many good qualities. He is expert in music, both as a singer and player, and is also a versatile scholar. Again, he keeps his passions under control and says that he will never marry.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on his bed, inside the mosquito net, meditating. It was about eight o'clock in the evening. M. was sitting on the floor with his friend Hari Babu.
  
  --
  
  Hriday, Sri Ramakrishna's nephew, was ill in his home in the country. The Master was worried about him. One of the devotees had sent him a little money, but the Master did not know it.
  
  When Sri Ramakrishna came out of the mosquito net and sat on the small couch, the devotees saluted him.
  
  --
  
  It was about ten o'clock. Sri Ramakrishna finished a light supper of farina pudding and one or two luchis. After saluting him, M. and his friend took their leave.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna and M. were talking in the Master's room at half past seven in the evening. No one else was present.
  
  --
  
  For a time Master and disciple remained silent. Then Sri Ramakrishna began to describe his experiences of Brahman.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the steps of the southeast verandah of the Kli temple.
  
  --
  
  Some of the devotees wondered, "Is Sri Ramakrishna an Incarnation of God, like Krishna, Chaitanya, and Christ?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had finished his midday meal and was sitting on the small couch.
  
  --
  
  As the conversation went on, several Bengali gentlemen entered the room and, after saluting the Master, sat down. One of them was already known to Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  These gentlemen followed the cult of Tantra. The Master knew that one of them indulged in immoral acts in the name of religion. The Tantra rituals, under certain conditions, allow the mixing of men and women devotees. But Sri Ramakrishna regarded all women, even prostitutes, as manifestations of the Divine Mother. He addressed them all as "Mother".
  
  --
  
  The visiting gentlemen took leave of the Master after saluting him. When they had departed, Sri Ramakrishna smiled and said to M., "You can never make a thief listen to religion. (All laugh.)
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna and M. were now conversing alone.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna reflected a moment and said softly: "Shall I tell you what it is like? It is like water. . . . One understands all this through spiritual discipline.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was seated in the drawing-room of Adhar's house in Calcutta, with Rkhl , Adhar, M., Ishan, and other devotees. Many gentlemen of the neighbourhood were also present. It was afternoon.
  
  The Master was very fond of Ishan. He had been a superintendent in the Accountant General's office, and later on his children also occupied high government positions. One of them was a classmate of Narendra. Ishan's purse was always open for the poor and needy. When he retired from service, he devoted his time to spiritual practices and charity. He often visited Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had heard that Ishan was building a house on the bank of the Ganges for the practice of spiritual discipline. He asked Ishan eagerly: "Has the house been built? Let me tell you that the less people know of your spiritual life, the better it will be for you. Devotees endowed with sattva meditate in a secluded corner or in a forest, or withdraw into the mind. Sometimes they meditate inside the mosquito net."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna often discouraged him in this.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sang, intoxicated with divine fervour: Why should I go to Ganga or Gaya, to Kasi, Kanchi, or Prabhas, So long as I can breathe my last with Kli's name upon my lips?
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room at Dakshineswar with Rkhl , M., and other devotees. Hazra sat on the porch outside. The Master was conversing with the devotees.
  
  --
  
  The conversation turned to Hazra's hatred for certain people, which Sri Ramakrishna did not like.
  
  --
  
  Toward evening, as Sri Ramakrishna was standing in the northwest corner of the courtyard, he went into samdhi. In those days the Master remained almost always in an ecstatic state. He would lose consciousness of the world at the slightest suggestion from outside. But for scant conversation with visiting devotees, he remained in an indrawn mood and was unable to perform his daily worship and devotions.
  
  --
  
  In the morning Sri Ramakrishna had been to the Kli temple to offer flowers at the Mother's feet.
  
  --
  
  The previous day Sri Ramakrishna had discouraged Ishan about Vedic worship, saying that it was not suitable for the Kaliyuga. He had asked Ishan to worship God as the Divine Mother.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna stood in front of the shrine of Kli and prostrated himself before the Divine Mother. M. followed him. Then the Master sat on the lower floor in front of the shrine room, facing the blissful image, and leaned against a pillar of the natmandir. He wore a red-bordered cloth, part of which was on his shoulder and back. M. sat by his side.
  
  --
  
  Suddenly Sri Ramakrishna caught M.'s attention and said, touching his own chest: "Well, there must be something here. Isn't that so?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was praying to the Divine Mother: "O Mother! O Embodiment of Om!
  
  --
  
  The evening worship in the temples was over. Sri Ramakrishna was again seated in his room with M.
  
  --
  
  M. related his dream experiences to Sri Ramakrishna, who listened to them attentively.
  
  --
  
  Adhar had invited the Master to come to his house on the occasion of the Durga Puja festival. It was the third day of the worship of the Divine Mother. When Sri Ramakrishna arrived at Adhar's house, he found Adhar's friend Sarada, Balarm's father, and Adhar's neighbours and relatives waiting for him.
  
  --
  
  In that state of divine ecstasy Sri Ramakrishna saw the six centres in his body, and the Divine Mother dwelling in them. He sang a song to that effect.
  
  --
  
  Sarada was stricken with grief on account of his son's death. So Adhar had taken him to Dakshineswar to visit the Master. Sarada was a devotee of Sri Chaitanya. Sri Ramakrishna looked at him and was inspired with the ideal of Gaurnga.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sang again, still overpowered with the ideal of Gaurnga: Surely Gaurnga is lost in a state of blissful ecstasy; In an exuberance of joy, he laughs and weeps and dances and sings.
  
  --
  
  Balarm's father was a wealthy man with estates in different parts of Orissa. An orthodox member of the Vaishnava sect, he had built temples and arranged for distribution of food to the pilgrims at various holy places. He had been spending the last years of his life in Vrindvan. The Vaishnavas, for the most part, are bigoted in their religious views. Some of them harbour malicious feelings toward the followers of the Tantra and Vednta. But Sri Ramakrishna never encouraged such a narrow outlook.
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna spoke these words to the devotees, he was overwhelmed with divine fervour. Coming down to partial consciousness of the world, he said to Balarm's father, "Are you the father of Balarm?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was in his room with Rkhl , Balarm's father, Beni Pl, M., Mani Mallick, Ishan, Kishori, and other devotees.
  
  --
  
  "The Incarnation of God is accepted by those who follow the path of bhakti. A woman belonging to the Kartabhaja sect observed my condition, and remarked: 'You have inner realization. Don't dance and sing too much. Ripe grapes must be preserved carefully in cotton. The mother-in-law lessens her daughter-in-law's activities when the daughter-in-law is with child. One characteristic of God-realization is that the activities of a man with such realization gradually drop away. Inside this man [meaning Sri Ramakrishna]
  
  --
  
  While talking thus, Sri Ramakrishna went into samdhi. He sat there motionless, completely forgetful of the outer world. Then, coming down to the sense world, he sang:
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sang a song describing the divine love of Chaitanya. Then Balarm's father, Mani Mallick, Beni Pl, and several other devotees took leave of the Master.
  
  --
  
  Ishan took his leave and Sri Ramakrishna talked with M. No one else was present. He asked M. what he thought of Narendra, Rkhl , Adhar, and Hazra, and whether they were guileless. "And", asked the Master, "what do you think of me?".
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna laughed.
  
  --
  
  It was the day of the annual festival of the Sinduriapatti Brahmo Samaj. The ceremony was to be performed in Manilal Mallick's house. The worship hall was beautifully decorated with flowers, wreaths, and evergreens, and many devotees were assembled, eagerly awaiting the worship. Their enthusiasm had been greatly heightened by the news that Sri Ramakrishna was going to grace the occasion with his presence. Keshab, Vijay, Shivanath, and other leaders of the Brahmo Samaj held him in high respect. His God intoxicated state of mind, his intense love of spiritual life, his burning faith, his intimate communion with God, and his respect for women, whom he regarded as veritable manifestations of the Divine Mother, together with the unsullied purity of his character, his complete renunciation of worldly talk, his love and respect for all religious faiths, and his eagerness to meet devotees of all creeds, attracted the members of the Brahmo Samaj to him. Devotees came that day from far-off places to join the festival, for it would give them a chance to get a glimpse of the Master and listen to his inspiring talk.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna arrived at the house before the worship began, and became engaged in conversation with Vijaykrishna Goswami and the other devotees. The lamps were lighted and the divine service was about to begin.
  
  --
  
  Saying this, Sri Ramakrishna began to sing in his soul-enthralling voice: Cherish my precious Mother Syama
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had said that bhava stills the nerve currents of the devotee. He continued: "When Arjuna was about to shoot at the target, the eye of a fish, his eyes were fixed on the eye of the fish, and on nothing else. He didn't even notice any part of the fish except the eye. In such a state the breathing stops and one experiences kumbhaka.
  
  --
  
  AT TWO O'CLOCK in the afternoon, M. was pacing the footpath of the Circular Road in front of the Lily Cottage, where Keshab Chandra Sen lived. He was eagerly awaiting the arrival of Sri Ramakrishna. Keshab's illness had taken a serious turn, and there was very little chance of his recovery. Since the Master loved Keshab dearly, he was coming from Dakshineswar to pay him a visit.
  
  --
  
  About five o'clock a carriage stopped in front of the Lily Cottage and Sri Ramakrishna got out with Ltu and several other devotees, including Rkhl . He was received by Keshab's relatives, who led him and the devotees upstairs to the verandah south of the drawing-room. The Master seated himself on a couch.
  
  After a long wait he became impatient to see Keshab. Keshab's disciples said that he was resting and would be there presently. Sri Ramakrishna became more and more impatient and said to Keshab's disciples: "Look here, what need is there of his coming to me? Why can't I go in and see him?"
  
  --
  
  In the mean time Sri Ramakrishna had got down from the couch and was sitting on the floor. Keshab bowed low before the Master and remained in that position a long time, touching the Master's feet with his forehead. Then he sat up. Sri Ramakrishna was still in a state of ecstasy. He muttered to himself. He talked to the Divine Mother.
  
  Raising his voice, Keshab said: "I am here, sir. I am here." He took Sri Ramakrishna's left hand and stroked it gently. But the Master was in deep samdhi, completely intoxicated with divine love. A stream of words came from his lips as he talked to himself, and the devotees listened to him spellbound.
  
  --
  
  While talking, Sri Ramakrishna regained the normal consciousness of the world. With a smile on his face he conversed with Keshab. The roomful of men watched them eagerly, and listened to their words. Everybody was amazed to find that neither Keshab nor the Master inquired about each other's health. They talked only of God.
  
  --
  
  Keshab laughed again and again at the Master's allusion to the hospital. Then Sri Ramakrishna spoke of his own illness. (To Keshab) "Hriday used to say, 'Never before have I seen such ecstasy for God, and never before have I seen such illness.' I was then sriously ill with stubborn diarrhoea. It was as if millions of ants were gnawing at my brain. But all the same, spiritual talk went on day and night. Dr. Rma of Natagore was called in to see me. He found me discussing spiritual truth. 'What a madman!' he said. 'Nothing is left of him but a few bones, and still he is reasoning like that!' "
  
  --
  
  The devotees were deeply touched to hear of Sri Ramakrishna's love for Keshab and his longing for the Brahmo leader.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna smiled. Umanath said again, "Mother asks you to bless Keshab that he may be cured of his illness."
  
  --
  
  Some refreshments had been arranged for the Master. Keshab's eldest son was seated near him. Amrita introduced the boy and requested Sri Ramakrishna to bless him. The Master said, "It is not given to me to bless anyone." With a sweet smile he stroked the boy's body gently.
  
  --
  
  Continuing, the Master said: "Keshab is free from the pride of a small minded religious teacher. To many people he has said, 'If you have any doubts, go there2 to have them solved.' It is my way, too, to say: 'What shall I do with people's respect? Let Keshab's virtues increase a millionfold.' Keshab is certainly a great man. Everyone respects him, seekers after wealth as well as holy men." Thus did Sri Ramakrishna praise Keshab before the latter's disciples.
  
  --
  
  Then Sri Ramakrishna left for Dakshineswar with one or two devotees.
  
  On his way to Dakshineswar from Keshab's cottage Sri Ramakrishna stopped at Jaygopal Sen's house. It was about seven o'clock in the evening.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was seated on the small couch in his room with Adhar, Manomohan, Rkhl , M., Harish, and other devotees. It was about two o' clock in the afternoon. The Master was describing to them the exalted state of Sri Chaitanya.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was standing in the road by the side of the nahabat. He was on his way to his room, having come from the pine-grove. He saw M. seated on the verandah of the nahabat, behind the fence, absorbed in meditation.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna again mentioned to M. his spiritual Ideal.
  
  --
  
  M. had been visiting Sri Ramakrishna for the past two years. Since he had been educated along English lines, he had acquired a fondness for Western philosophy and science, and had liked to hear Keshab and other scholars lecture. Sri Ramakrishna would address him now and then as the "Englishman". Since coming to Sri Ramakrishna, M. had lost all relish for lectures and for books written by English scholars. The only thing that appealed to him now was to see the Master day and night, and hear the words that fell from his blessed lips. M. constantly dwelt on certain of Sri Ramakrishna's sayings. The Master had said, "One can certainly see God through the practice of spiritual discipline", and again, "The vision of God is the only goal of human life."
  
  --
  
  The Master started again for the Panchavati accompanied by M. No one else was with them. Sri Ramakrishna with a smile narrated to him various incidents of the past years of his life.
  
  --
  
  It was evening. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch in his room, absorbed in meditation on the Divine Mother. The evening worship in the temples began, with the music of gong and conchshell. M. was going to spend the night with the Master.
  
  Ater a time Sri Ramakrishna asked M. to read from the Bhaktamala, a book about the Vaishnava saints.
  
  --
  
  "Sri Ramakrishna is certainly the best of men. In all my life I have not seen another great soul like him. He must have seen God. Otherwise, how could he talk with God day and night, addressing Him so intimately as 'Mother'? Otherwise, how could he love God so intimately? Such is his love for God that he forgets the outer world. He goes into samdhi and remains like a lifeless thing. Again, in the ecstasy of that love, he laughs and cries and dances and sings."
  
  --
  
  At nine o'clock in the morning Sri Ramakrishna was standing on the southeast verandah near the door of his room, with Ramlal by his side. Rkhl and Ltu were moving about. M. arrived and prostrated himself before the Master. Sri Ramakrishna said to him affectionately: "You have come. That's very good. Today is an auspicious day."
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna listened to Parasurama's hymn, he went into a spiritual mood and now and then chanted the name of Rma in his melodious voice.
  
  --
  
  After the midday meal Sri Ramakrishna lay down on his bed to rest. M. was seated on the floor. Presently Dr. Shyama and a few devotees arrived. The Master sat up on the bed and began to converse with them.
  
  --
  
  At half past three in the afternoon M. again entered the Master's room and sat on the floor. A teacher from the Broughton Institution had come with several students to pay a visit to Sri Ramakrishna. They were conversing together. Now and then the teacher asked questions. The conversation was about the worship of images.
  
  --
  
  Late in the afternoon Sri Ramakrishna was talking to M. They were standing on the south side of the nahabat. Since it was winter the Master was wrapped in his woolen shawl.
  
  --
  
  The Master said to M., "The sum and substance of the whole thing is to cultivate devotion for God and love Him." At Sri Ramakrishna's request Ramlal sang a few songs, the Master himself singing the first line of each.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to Ramlal, " Sing that one- 'Gaur and Nitai, ye blessed brothers' . "
  
  --
  
  Late at night M. sat alone in the nahabat. The sky, the river, the garden, the steeples of the temples; the trees, and the Panchavati were flooded with moonlight. Deep silence reigned everywhere, broken only by the melodious murmuring of the Ganges. M. was meditating on Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  At three o'clock in the morning M. left his seat. He proceeded toward the Panchavati as Sri Ramakrishna had suggested. He did not care for the nahabat any more and resolved to stay in the hut in the Panchavati.
  
  --
  
  M. had been staying at Dakshineswar with Sri Ramakrishna. The Master was sitting in his room, listening to the life of Prahlada, which Ramlal was reading from the Bhaktamala. M. was sitting on the floor. Rkhl, Ltu, and Harish were also in the room, and Hazra was on the verandah. While listening to the story of Prahlada's love for God, Sri Ramakrishna went into an ecstatic mood.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna returned from the Kli temple and sat on the southeast verandah of his room. He ate some refreshments which had been offered at the temple, and the devotees also received a share.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was seated with M. on the semicircular porch of his room at about ten o'clock in the morning. The fragrance of gardenias, jasmines, oleanders, roses, and other flowers filled the air. The Master was singing looking at M: Thou must save me, sweetest Mother! Unto Thee I come for refuge,
  
  --
  
  Addressing Mr. Mukherji, Sri Ramakrishna said: "You are rich, and still you call on God.
  
  --
  
  M. had studied a little of the Vednta. He also had read the German philosophers, such as Kant and Hegel, whose writings are only a faint echo of the Vednta. But Sri Ramakrishna did not arrive at his conclusions by reasoning, as do ordinary scholars. It was the Divine Mother of the Universe who revealed the Truth to him. These were the thoughts that passed through M.'s mind.
  
  A little later Sri Ramakrishna and M. were conversing on the porch west of the Master's room. No one else was there. It was a late winter afternoon, and the sun had not yet gone below the horizon.
  
  --
  
  It was evening. Sri Ramakrishna was meditating on the Divine Mother and chanting Her holy name. The devotees also went off to solitary places and meditate on their Chosen Ideals. Evening worship began at the temple garden in the shrines of Kli, Radha-Krishna, and iva.
  
  --
  
  It was about eight o'clock in the morning. Sri Ramakrishna was in his room with M., when Dr. Madhu arrived and sat down beside the Master on the small couch. He was an elderly man and full of wit. He used to visit the Master when the latter felt indisposed.
  
  --
  
  The Master was resting after his noon meal. Mani Mallick arrived and saluted him. Sri Ramakrishna remained lying on the couch and said a word or two to Mani.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was seated in his room with his devotees. He spoke highly of Devendranath Tagore's love of God and renunciation, and then said, pointing to Rkhl and the other young devotees, "Devendra is a good man; but blessed indeed are those young aspirants who, like Sukadeva, practise renunciation from their very boyhood and think of God day and night without being involved in worldly life.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had vowed to offer green coconut and sugar to Siddhesvari, the Divine Mother, for Rkhl's welfare. He asked M. whether he would pay for the offerings.
  
  That afternoon the Master, accompanied by M., Rkhl, and some other devotees, set out in a carriage for the temple of Siddhesvari in Calcutta. On the way the offerings were purchased. On reaching the temple, the Master asked the devotees to offer the fruit and sugar to the Divine Mother. They saw the priests and their friends playing cards in the temple. Sri Ramakrishna said: "To play cards in a temple! One should think of God here."
  
  --
  
  Jadu and his mother served refreshments to Sri Ramakrishna and the devotees.
  
  --
  
  It was nine o'clock in the morning. Sri Ramakrishna was talking to M. near the bel-tree at Dakshineswar. This tree, under which the Master had practised the most austere sadhana, stood in the northern end of the temple garden. Farther north ran a high wall, and just outside was the government magazine. West of the bel-tree was a row of tall pines that rustled in the wind. Below the trees flowed the Ganges, and to the south could be seen the sacred grove of the Panchavati. The dense trees and underbrush hid the temples. No noise of the outside world reached the bel-tree.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna went to the Panchavati on his way back to his room. M. accompanied him. It was then about ten o'clock.
  
  --
  
  At midday, finding that M. had not yet returned, Sri Ramakrishna started toward the bel-tree; but on reaching the Panchavati he met M. carrying his prayer carpet and water-jug. M. saluted the Master.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to M: "I was coming to look for you. Because of your delay I thought you might have scaled the wall and run away. I watched your eyes this morning and felt apprehensive lest you should go away like Narayan Shastri. Then I said to myself: 'No, he won't run away. He thinks a great deal before doing anything.' "
  
  --
  
  Following Sri Ramakrishna's direction, M. spent the night in the hut at the Panchavati.
  
  --
  
  Suddenly M. glanced toward the window and saw the Master standing there. Sri Ramakrishna's eyes became heavy with tears as M. sang the line:
  
  --
  
  In the afternoon a monk belonging to the sect of Nanak arrived. He was a worshipper of the formless God. Sri Ramakrishna asked him to meditate as well on God with form.
  
  --
  
  Rkhl, Harish, M., and Ltu had been staying with Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna began to sing, asuming the attitude of the gopis:
  
  --
  
  Saying this, Sri Ramakrishna sang, assuming the attitude of Akrura: Hold not, hold not the chariot's wheels!
  
  --
  
  At nine o'clock in the morning Sri Ramakrishna was seated on the southwest porch of his room, with Rkhl , Ltu, M., Harish, and some other devotees. M. had now been nine days with the Master at Dakshineswar. Earlier in the morning Manomohan had arrived from Konnagar on this way to Calcutta. Hazra, too, was present.
  
  A Vaishnava was singging. Referring to one of the songs, Sri Ramakrishna said: "I didn't enjoy that song very much. The songs of the earlier writers seem to me to have more of the right spirit. Once I sang for Nangta at the Panchavati: 'To arms! To arms, O
  
  --
  
  After the midday meal Sri Ramakrishna rested a few minutes in his room. M. was sitting on the floor. The Master was delighted to hear the music that was being played in the nahabat. He then explained to M. that Brahman alone has become the universe and all living beings.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was talking to the Divine Mother in a voice that would have melted even a stone. Again he addressed Her, saying: "mere knowledge of Advaita! I spit on it! Thou doest exist as long as Thou dost keep the ego in me. The paramahamsa is but a child. Doesn't a child need a mother?"
  
  --
  
  said to himself: "Who is this Sri Ramakrishna, acting as my teacher? Has God embodied Himself for our welfare? The master himself says that none but an Incarnation can come down to the phenomenal plane from the state of nirvikalpa samdhi."
  
  --
  
  At eight o'clock in the morning Sri Ramakrishna and M. were talking together in the pine-grove at the northern end of the temple garden. This was the eleventh day of M.'s stay with the Master.
  
  It was winter. The sun had just risen. The river was flowing north with the tide. Not far off could be seen the bel-tree where the Master had practised great spiritual austerities. Sri Ramakrishna faced the east as he talked to his disciple and told him about the Knowledge of Brahman.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna stood up. There was silence all around, distrubed only the by the gentle rustling of the pine-needless and the murmuring of the Ganges. The Master went to the Panchavati and then to his room, talking all the while with M. The disciple followed him, fascinated. At the Panchavati Sri Ramakrishan touched with his forehead the raised platform around the banyan-tree. This was the place of his intense spiritual discipline, where he had wept bitterly for the vision of the Divine Mother, where he had held intimate communion with Her, and where he had seen many divine forms.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was resting after his midday meal when Surendra, Ram, and other devotees arrived from Calcutta. It was about one o'clock. While M. was strolling alone under the pine-tress, Harish came there and told him that the Master wanted him in his room. Someone was going to read from the 'iva Samhita, a book containing instructions about yoga and six centres.
  
  M. entered the room and saluted the Master. The devotees were seated on the floor, but no one was reading the book. Sri Ramakrishna was talking to the devotees.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had taken Surendra's responsibilities on himself. Why should Surendra worry about anything?
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna smiled and said, "Yes, excitement indeed."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna, accompanied by Manilal Mallick, M., and several other devotees, was in a carriage on his way to Ram's new garden.
  
  The garden, which Ram had recently purchased, was next to Surendra's. Ram adored the Master as an Incarnation of God. He visited Sri Ramakrishna frequently at Dakshineswar. Manilal Mallick was a member of the Brahmo Samaj. The Brahmos do not believe in Divine Incarnations.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sat down in the house, which stood to the south of the lake. Ram offered him a plate of fruit and sweets which he enjoyed with the devotees. After a short time he went around the garden.
  
  Next Sri Ramakrishna proceeded toward Surendra's garden. He walked on foot a little distance and saw a sdhu sitting on a couch under a tree. At once he went up to the holy man and joyfully began a conversation with him.
  
  --
  
  After a pleasant conversation with the sdhu, the Master returned to the carriage, the holy man walking with him. Sri Ramakrishna looked upon him as a friend of long acquaintance, and they walked arm in arm.
  
  --
  
  The temple garden was filled with the sweet music of the dawn service; which mingled with the morning melody from the nahabat. Leaving his bed, Sri Ramakrishna chanted the names of God in sweet tones. Then he bowed before the pictures of the different deities in his room and went to the west porch to salute the Ganges.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "I have been invited to Ishan's this morning. Baburam will accompany me, and you too." M. made ready to go with the Master.
  
  --
  
  On all sides plants and trees were in flower, and the river sparkled in the sunlight of the bright winter's day. The Master bowed once more before the pictures. Then, still chanting the name of the Divine Mother, he got into the carriage, followed by M. and Baburam. The devotees took with them Sri Ramakrishna's woolen shawl, woolen cap, and small bag of spices.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was very happy during the trip and enjoyed it like a child. About nine o'clock the carriage stopped at the door of Ishan's house.
  
  --
  
  Shrish, Ishan's son, was introduced to Sri Ramakrishna. The young man practised law at Alipur. He had been a brilliant student, having stood first in two of the university examinations, but he was extremely modest.
  
  --
  
  At noon the host wished to feed the Master and the devotees. Sri Ramakrishna was smilingly pacing the room. Now and then he exchanged a few words with the musician.
  
  --
  
  Next to Ishan's was his father-in-law's house. Sri Ramakrishna stood at the door of this house, ready to get into the carriage. Ishan and his friends stood around to bid him adieu. Sri Ramakrishna said to Ishan: "You are living in the world as a mudfish lives in the mud. It lives in the mud but its body is not stained.
  
  --
  
  It was evening. The Master stopped at Ram's house on his way to Dakshineswar. He was taken to the drawing-room and there he engaged in conversation with Mahendra Goswami. Mahendra belonged to the Vaishnava sect and was Ram's neighbour. Sri Ramakrishna was fond of him.
  
  --
  
  GOSWAMI (smiling): "iva and Parvati are our Father and Mother." Sri Ramakrishna, out of his stock of a dozen English words, said sweetly, "Thank you!" Then he added, "Yes, Father and Mother!"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was ready to start for
  
  --
  
  It was the day of the new moon, auspicious for the worship of the Divine Mother. At one o'clock in the afternoon Sri Ramakrishna got into a carriage to visit the temple of Kli at Kalighat. He intended to stop at Adhar's house on the way, since Adhar was to accompany him to the temple. While the carriage was waiting near the north porch of the Master's room, M. went to the Master and said, "Sir, may I also go with you?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna reflected a moment and said: "Must you go home? Why? You are quite all right here."
  
  --
  
  At three o'clock in the afternoon, while M. was walking up and down under a tree, a devotee came to him and said that the Master had sent for him. M. went to Sri Ramakrishna's room and found a number of devotees there. He saluted the Master.
  
  Ram, Kedr, and others had arrived from Calcutta. Ram had brought with him the Vedantist monk whom the Master had visited near his garden a few days earlier. On that occasion Sri Ramakrishna had asked him to bring the sdhu to Dakshineswar.
  
  --
  
  At these words Sri Ramakrishna went into samdhi and sat motionless. The monk and the devotees looked wonderingly at him in his ecstatic condition. Kedr said to the monk: "Look at him, sir. This is samdhi."
  
  --
  
  The monk was amazed to see the Master's condition and to hear these words. Sri Ramakrishna said to him: "Please do away with your 'I am He'. Let us now keep 'I' and 'Thou' to enjoy the fun."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna returned to his room. About four o'clock the door of the Kli temple was opened, and the Master walked to the temple with the monk; M. accompanied them. Entering the inner chamber, the Master prostrate himself reverently before the image. The monk, with folded hands, also bowed his head repeatedly before Kli.
  
  --
  
  Rkhl , Ltu, Harish, Ramlal, and M. had been staying with Sri Ramakrishna at the temple garden. About three o'clock in the afternoon M. found the Master on the west porch of his room engaged in conversation with a Tantrik devotee. The Tantrik was wearing an ochre cloth. Sri Ramakrishna asked M. to sit by his side. Perhaps the Master intended to instruct him through his talk with the Tantrik devotee. Mahima Chakravarty had sent the latter to the Master.
  
  --
  
  At eight o'clock that evening the Master was sitting in his room with Rkhl and M. It was the twenty-first day of M.'s stay with Sri Ramakrishna. The Master had forbidden him to indulge in reasoning.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room. M. was still staying with the Master, devoting his time to the practice of spiritual discipline. He had been spending a great part of each day in prayer and meditation under the bel-tree, where the Master had performed great austerities and had seen many wonderful visions of God.
  
  --
  
  At dusk M. was sitting at the Master's feet. Sri Ramakrishna had been told that Keshab's illness had taken a turn for the worse. He was talking about Keshab and incidentally about the Brahmo Samaj.
  
  --
  
  It was the twenty-third day of M.'s stay with Sri Ramakrishna. M. had finished his midday meal about one o'clock and was resting in the nahabat when suddenly he heard someone call his name three or four times. Coming out, he saw Sri Ramakrishna calling to him from the verandah north of his room.
  
  --
  
  After dusk Sri Ramakrishna went to the Kli temple and was pleased to see M.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna now came down to the normal state of mind. Rkhl and Ramlal entered the room. At the Master's bidding Ramlal sang: Who is the Woman yonder who lights the field of battle?
  
  --
  
  IT WAS THREE O'CLOCK in the afternoon. Sri Ramakrishna had been conversing with Rkhl , Mahimacharan, Hazra, and other devotees, when M. entered the room and saluted him. He brought with him splint, pad, and lint to bandage the Master's injured arm.
  
  --
  
  One day, while going toward the pine-grove, Sri Ramakrishna had fallen near the railing and dislocated a bone in his left arm. He had been in an ecstatic mood at the time and no one had been with him.
  
  --
  
  Again addressing the Mother, Sri Ramakrishna said: "Do I weep because I am hurt? Not at all:
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna taught the devotees how to call on the Divine Mother.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna looked at him and sang:
  
  --
  
  At five o'clock in the afternoon Dr. Madhusudan arrived. While he prepared the bandage for the Master's arm, Sri Ramakrishna laughed like a child and said, "You are the Madhusudan of both this world and the next!"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna laughed and the devotees laughed with him.
  
  --
  
  Adhar sat on the floor with the devotees. The Master said to him, "Please stroke here gently." Adhar sat on the end of the couch and gently stroked Sri Ramakrishna's feet.
  
  --
  
  It was about eight o'clock in the evening. Sri Ramakrishna asked Mahimacharan to recite a few hymns from the scriptures. Mahima read the first verse of the Uttara Git, describing the nature of the Supreme Brahman:
  
  --
  
  At noon the following day, after his midday meal, Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch, when Ram, Surendra, and a few other devotees arrived from Calcutta.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was resting in his room after his midday meal, and Mani Mallick was sitting on the floor beside him, when M. arrived. M. saluted the Master and sat down beside Mani. The Master's injured arm was bandaged.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna began to talk to them about his health and his injured arm.
  
  --
  
  Mani Mallick told the Master about an exhibition that was being held in Calcutta. He described a beautiful image of Yaoda with the Baby Krishna on her lap. Sri Ramakrishna's eyes filled with tears. On hearing about Yaoda, the embodiment of maternal love, his spiritual consciousness was kindled and he wept.
  
  --
  
  Mani Mallick, about sixty-five years old, had been a member of the Brahmo Samaj for many years, and Sri Ramakrishna gave him instruction that would agree with his mood.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch in his room, listening to devotional music by Trailokya Sannyal of the Brahmo Samaj. He had not yet recovered from the effects of the injury to his arm, which was still supported by a splint. Many devotees, including, Narendra, Srendra, and M., were sitting on the floor.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna requested Trailokya to sing the song beginning, "O Mother, make me mad with Thy love".
  

2.20_-_2.29_-_RULES_FOR_HOUSEHOLDERS_AND_MONKS, #Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, #Sri Ramakrishna, #Hinduism
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room at Dakshineswar with many devotees.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna then explained the sacred Word "Om" and the true Knowledge of Brahman and the state of mind after the attainment of Brahmajnana.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room after his midday meal, with Rkhl, Ram, and some other devotees. He was not quite well. The injured arm was still bandaged.
  
  --
  
  A hathayogi was staying in the hut at the Panchavati. Ramprasanna, the son of Krishnakishore of Ariadh, and several other men had become his devotees: The yogi needed twenty-five rupees a month for his milk and opium; so Ramprasanna had requested Sri Ramakrishna to speak to his devotees about the yogi and get some money. The Master said to several devotees: "A hathayogi has come to the Panchavati.
  
  --
  
  Mahimacharan entered the room and saluted the Master. Sri Ramakrishna said to him: "Ah! He has sung a nice song. Please sing it again." Thakur Dada repeated the song.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna saw that very few of the devotees were willing to give money to the hathayogi.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the semicircular porch west of his room, talking with Mahima and other devotees about the hathayogi. The talk drifted to Ramprasanna, the son of Krishnakishore. The Master was fond of the young man.
  
  --
  
  It was not yet dusk. The Master, seated on the couch, was talking to M. Mahimacharan was on the semicircular porch engaged in a loud discussion of the scriptures with the physician friend of Mani Sen. Sri Ramakrishna heard it and with a smile said to M.: "There! He is delivering himself. That is the characteristic of rajas. It stimulates the desire to 'lecture' and to show off one's scholarship. But sattva makes one introspective. It makes one hide one's virtues. But I must say that Mahima is a grand person. He takes such delight in spiritual talk."
  
  --
  
  IT WAS ABOUT EIGHT O'CLOCK in the morning when M. arrived at the temple garden and found Sri Ramakrishna seated on the small couch in his room. A few devotees were sitting on the floor. The Master was talking to them. Prankrishna Mukherji was there.
  
  --
  
  He held a high post in an English business firm. He was very much devoted to Sri Ramakrishna and, though a householder, derived great pleasure from the study of Vednta philosophy. He was a frequent visitor at the temple garden. Once he invited the Master to his house in Calcutta and held a religious festival. Every day, early in the morning, he bathed in the holy water of the Ganges. Whenever it was convenient, he would come to Dakshineswar in a hired country boat.
  
  --
  
  came on foot and found Sri Ramakrishna talking to Prankrishna and the others.
  
  --
  
  The hathayogi who had been living in the Panchavati entered the room. He was in the habit of taking milk and opium. He did not eat rice or other food and had no money to buy the milk and opium. The Master had talked with him in the Panchavati. The hathayogi had told Rkhl to ask the Master to make some provision for him, and Sri Ramakrishna had promised to speak about it to the visitors from Calcutta.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna laughed.
  
  --
  
  Is it because Sri Ramakrishna believes in gods and goddesses with form? I don't know anything about God, nor do I understand Him. The Master believes in images; then why shouldn't I too, who am so insignificant a creature, accept them?"
  
  --
  
  M. remembered this interpretation of Kli given by the Master. He said to himself, "I have heard that Keshab accepted Kli in Sri Ramakrishna's presence. Is this, as Keshab used to say, the Goddess, all Spirit and Consciousness; manifesting Herself through a clay image?"
  
  
  M. returned to the Master's room and sat on the floor. Sri Ramakrishna offered him some fruit and sweets to eat. On account of trouble in the family, M. had recently rented a house in another section of Calcutta near his school, his father and brothers continuing to live in the ancestral home. But Sri Ramakrishna wanted him to return to his own home, since a joint family affords many advantages to one leading a religious life. Once or twice the Master had spoken to M. to this effect, but unfortunately he had not yet returned to his family. Sri Ramakrishna referred to the matter again.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had been resting awhile after his meal when several devotees, including Ram and Girindra, arrived. They sat down after saluting the Master. The conversation turned to the New Dispensation Church of Keshab Chandra Sen.
  
  --
  
  All at once Sri Ramakrishna exclaimed, "Ah, Chaitanya!" and stood up.
  
  --
  
  After this conversation had come to an end, Sri Ramakrishna extolled Ram's virtues.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch in his room. Rkhl , M., and, several other devotees were present. A special worship of Kli had been performed in the temple the previous night. In connection with the worship a theatrical performance of the Vidyasundar had been staged in the Natmandir. The Master had watched a part of it that morning. The actors came to his room to pay him their respects. The Master, in a happy mood, became engaged in conversation with a fair complexioned young man who had taken the part of Vidy and played his part very well.
  
  --
  
  Rkhl sat down to his meal. Sri Ramakrishna again spoke to the actor.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had rested on his bed only a few minutes when Hari, Narayan, Narendra Bannerji, and other devotees arrived from Calcutta and saluted him. Narendra Bannerji was the son of the professor of Sanskrit at the Presidency College of Calcutta.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna often sent for Hari when he went to Balarm's house in Baghbazar.
  
  --
  
  Two ladies, devotees of Sri Ramakrishna, entered the room and saluted the Master. They had been fasting in preparation for this visit. They were sisters-in-law, the wives of two brothers, and were twenty-two or twenty-three years old. They were mothers of children. Both of them had their faces covered with veils.
  
  --
  
  Saying this, Sri Ramakrishna asked Ramlal to give the ladies some food. They were given fruit, sweets, drinks, and other offerings from the temple.
  
  --
  
  It was about five o'clock in the afternoon. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the steps of the iva temples. Adhar, Dr. Nitai, M., and several other devotees were with him.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna came down from the steps of the iva temples and went to his own room through the courtyard. The devotees were with him. Just then Ram Chatterji came and said that the Holy Mother's attendant had had an attack of cholera.
  
  --
  
  The ladies mentioned before saluted the Master and were about to take their leave. Sri Ramakrishna again said to them: "Perform the iva Puja according to my instruction.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sat down on the porch west of his room. Narendra Bannerji, Hari, M., and others sat by his side. The Master knew about Narendra's family difficulties.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna loved guileless people. Narendra Bannerji was absolutely guileless. The Master loved Niranjan because he, too, was without guile.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the cement platform that encircled the trunk of the old banyan-tree in the Panchavati. Vijay, Surendra, Bhavanath, Rkhl , and other devotees were present, a few of them sitting with the Master on the platform, the rest on the ground below. The devotees had thought of celebrating the Master's birthday, which had had to be put off because of his illness. Since Sri Ramakrishna now felt much better, the devotees wanted to have the celebration that day. A woman musician, a famous singer of kirtan, was going to entertain them with devotional songs.
  
  It was one o'clock in the afternoon. M. had been looking for Sri Ramakrishna in the Master's room. When he did not find him there, he went to the Panchavati and eagerly asked the devotees, "Where is he?" He was standing right in front of the Master but in his excitement did not notice him. The devotees laughed loudly. A moment later M. saw Sri Ramakrishna and felt very much embarrassed. He prostrated himself before the Master, who sat there facing the south and smiling happily. Kedr and Vijay were sitting at his left. These two devotees had had a misunderstanding recently when Kedr had cut off his connexion with the Brahmo Samaj.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sang:
  
  --
  
  In answer to Vijay Sri Ramakrishna only said, "That depends on the will of God." Then he went on with his talk about women.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was going to the pine-grove and asked Gopal of Sinthi to take his umbrella to his room. Arrangements had been made in the Panchavati for the kirtan.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna partly regained outer consciousness. The musician improvised: Why should one who, for Thy sake, has given up everything Endure so much of suffering?
  
  The Master bowed to the musician and sat down to listen to the music. Now and then he became abstracted. When the musician stopped singing, Sri Ramakrishna began to talk to the devotees.
  
  --
  
  The Master began to dance, and the devotees joined him. He caught M. by the arm and dragged him into the circle. Thus dancing, Sri Ramakrishna again went into samdhi.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna gradually came back to the plane of normal consciousness. He took his seat and chanted the names of God: "Om Satchidananda! Govinda! Govinda! Govinda!
  
  --
  
  A little later Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the semicircular porch facing the Ganges, the devotees sitting by his side. Now and then the Master would exclaim, "Ah, Krishnachaitanya!"
  
  --
  
  Referring to Keshab's association with "woman and gold", which had hindered his work as a spiritual teacher, Sri Ramakrishna said to Vijay, "He-do you understand?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna arrived in the morning at the garden house of Surendra, one of his beloved householder disciples, in the village of Kankurgachi near Calcutta. Surendra had invited him and a large number of the devotees to a religious festival.
  
  --
  
  For centuries and centuries the lovers of God in 1ndia have been worshipping the Divine by recreating in themselves the yearning of the gopis for Krishna. Many of the folk-songs of India have as their theme this sweet episode of Krishna's life. Sri Chaitanya revived this phase of Hindu religious life by his spiritual practice and his divine visions. In his ecstatic music Chaitanya assumed the role of Radha and manifested the longing to be united with Krishna. For a long period Sri Ramakrishna also worshipped God as his beloved Krishna, looking on himself as one of the gopis or as God's handmaid.
  
  --
  
  When Sri Ramakrishna heard the song he suddenly stood up. Assuming the mood of Radha, he sang in a voice laden with sorrow, improvising the words: "O friend, either bring my beloved Krishna here or take me to Him." Thus singing, he completely lost himself in Radha and could not continue the song. He became speechless, his body motionless, his eyes half closed, his mind totally unconscious of the outer world. He was in deep samdhi.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna improvised a line himself: "Are not better times yet in sight for me?" The musicians then improvised: "Such a long time has passed! Are not better times yet in sight for me?"
  
  --
  
  When the musicians sang, "Where are You, adorable Soul of the gopis?" the Master went into samdhi. As the music neared its end the musicians sang louder. Sri Ramakrishna was on his feet, again in deep samdhi. Regaining partial consciousness, he said in a half articulate voice, "Kitna! Kitna!" He was too much overwhelmed to utter Krishna's name distinctly.
  
  --
  
  Presently Sri Ramakrishna returned to the main hall of the house. A big pillow was placed near him for his use. Before touching it he said, "Om Tat Sat" Perhaps the pillow had been used by many worldly people, and that was why he purified it in this way.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna and the devotees enjoyed the meal greatly. Afterwards he rested awhile. About two o'clock in the afternoon Pratap Chandra Mazumdar of the Brahmo Samaj arrived. He was a co-worker of Keshab Chandra Sen and had been to Europe and America in connection with the Brahmo missionary work. He greeted Sri Ramakrishna, and the Master, too, bowed before him with his usual modesty.
  
  --
  
  At this point Pratap bade the Master good-bye. He did not wait to hear the end of Sri Ramakrishna's words about the renunciation of "woman and gold". Those burning words touched the hearts of the devotees and were carried away on the wind through the gently rustling leaves in the garden.
  
  A few minutes later Mani Mallick said to Sri Ramakrishna: "Sir, it is time for you to leave for Dakshineswar. Today Keshab's mother and the other ladies of his family are going to the temple garden to visit you. They will be hurt if they do not find you there."
  
  --
  
  It was dusk. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room, absorbed in contemplation of the Divine Mother. Now and then he was chanting Her name. Rkhl , Adhar, M., and several other devotees were with him.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna and M. conversed.
  
  --
  
  Bhuvanmohini was a nurse who used to visit Sri Ramakrishna now and then.
  
  --
  
  IT WAS THE DAY of the Rathyatra the Car Festival of the Hindus. At Ishan's invitation Sri Ramakrishna went to his house in Calcutta. For some time the Master had had a desire to meet Pundit Shashadhar. Tarkachudamani, who had been staying with one of Ishan's neighbours. So it was decided that he would visit the pundit in the afternoon.
  
  --
  
  After a while M. and Narendra arrived and bowed before Sri Ramakrishna. The Master had previously informed M. that he would be at Ishan's house.
  
  --
  
  About four o'clock in the afternoon the Master left in a carriage for the house where Pundit Shashadhar was staying. As soon as Sri Ramakrishna got into the carriage he went into samdhi. His physical frame was very tender as a result of the austerities he had undergone during the long years of his spiritual discipline and his constant absorption in God-Consciousness.
  
  The Master would suffer from the slightest physical discomfort and even from the vibration of worldly thoughts around him. Once Keshab Chandra Sen had said that Sri Ramakrishna, Christ, and Sri Chaitanya belonged to a delicate species of humanity that should be kept in a glass case and protected from the vulgar contact of the world.
  
  --
  
  It was not yet dusk, and Sri Ramakrishna returned to Ishan's house with the devotees.
  
  --
  
  A pundit who was present said to Sri Ramakrishna, "You are indeed a great soul."
  
  --
  
  They were waiting to bid him good-bye. Sri Ramakrishna said to Ishan: "Live in the world like an ant. The world contains a mixture of truth and untruth, sugar and sand. Be an ant and take the sugar.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna got into the carriage and left for Dakshineswar.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was in his room, sitting on a mat spread on the floor. Pundit Shashadhar and a few devotees were with him on the mat, and the rest sat on the bare floor. Surendra, Baburam, M., Harish, Ltu, Hazra, and others were present. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had met Pundit Shashadhar six days before in Calcutta, and now the pundit had come to Dakshineswar to visit the Master. Bhudar Chattopadhyaya and his elder brother, the pundit's hosts, were with him.
  
  --
  
  Pundit Shashadhar was charmed with his singing. Very humbly he said to Sri Ramakrishna, "Are you going to sing anymore?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna continued:
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna sang the line, "And with it have bought Sri Durga's name", the tears flowed from Pundit Shashadhar's eyes. The Master went on with the song: Deep within my heart I have planted the name of Kli, The Wish-fulfilling Tree of heaven;
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was silent awhile. Then he went on with his conversation.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna and the devotees remained silent awhile. The pundit resumed the conversation.
  
  --
  
  The pundit and Mani Mallick became engaged in conversation. Mani was a member of the Brahmo Samaj. The pundit argued vehemently about the good and bad sides of the Samaj. Sri Ramakrishna was seated on the small couch and looked on, smiling. Presently he remarked: "This is the tamasic aspect of sattva, the attitude of a hero. This is necessary. One should not hold one's tongue at the sight of injustice and untruth.
  
  --
  
  With a smile Sri Ramakrishna said to the pundit: "Mani Mallick has been following the tenets of the Brahmo Samaj a long time. You can't convert him to your views. Is it an easy thing to destroy old tendencies? Once there lived a very pious Hindu who always worshipped the Divine Mother and chanted Her name. When the Mussalmans conquered the country, they forced him embrace Islam. They said to him: 'You are now a Mussalman. Say "Allah". From now on you must repeat only the name of Allah.' With great difficulty he repeated the word 'Allah', but every now and then blurted out 'Jagadamba'. At that the Mussalmans were about to beat him. Thereupon he said to them: 'I beseech you! Please do not kill me. I have been trying my utmost to repeat the name of Allah, but our Jagadamba has filled me up to the throat. She pushes out your Allah.' (All laugh.)
  
  --
  
  All sat in silence. Sri Ramakrishna said to the pundit, "Go and visit the temples and take a stroll in the garden." It was about half past five in the afternoon. The pundit left the room with his friends and several of the devotees.
  
  After a while the Master went with M. toward the bathing-ghat on the Ganges. He said to M., "Baburam now says, 'What shall I gain by study?' "On the bank of the river he met the pundit and said to him, "Aren't you going to the Kli temple?" The pundit said: "Yes, sir. Let us go together." With a smiling face Sri Ramakrishna proceeded to the temple through the courtyard. He said to the pundit, "Listen to a song."
  
  --
  
  They came to the temple. Sri Ramakrishna saluted the Divine Mother, touching the ground with his forehead.
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna was coming back to his room with the devotees, he said to Baburam, "Come with us." M. also joined them.
  
  --
  
  Rkhl was not then living with Sri Ramakrishna, and therefore the Master was having difficulties about his personal service. Several devotees lived with him, but he could not bear the touch of everyone during his spiritual moods. He hinted to Baburam: "Do stay with me. It will be very nice. In this mood I cannot allow others to touch me."
  
  The pundit entered the Master's room after visiting the temples. The Master said to him from the porch, "Take some refreshments." The pundit said that he had not yet performed his evening devotions. At once Sri Ramakrishna stood up and sang in an exalted mood:
  
  --
  
  Surendra was about to leave. He invited his friends into his carriage. The Master, still in an ecstatic mood, said, "Don't take more people than your horse can draw." Suredra took leave of Sri Ramakrishna. The pundit left the room to perform his worship. M. and Baburam saluted the Master. They were about to leave for Calcutta. Sri Ramakrishna was still in an ecstatic mood.
  
  --
  
  M. again took his seat and waited for the Master's command. Sri Ramakrishna motioned to Baburam to take a seat and asked him to fan him a little. M. also took part in rendering this personal service to the Master.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna forced himself, as it were, to say, "Yes." He soon changed the conversation.
  
  --
  
  The pundit and his friends saluted the Master and were about to take their leave. Sri Ramakrishna said to the pundit: "Come again. One hemp-smoker rejoices in the company of another hemp-smoker. They even embrace each other. But they hide at the sight of people not of their own kind. A cow licks the body of her calf; but she threatens a strange cow with her horns." (All laugh.)
  
  --
  
  Moonlight flooded the semicircular porch. Sri Ramakrishna was still seated there. M. was about to leave.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in Balarm Bose's house in Calcutta. It was the day of the "Return Car Festival". The Lord of the Universe was worshipped in Balarm's house as Jagannath. There was a small car in the house for use during the Car Festival.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was in a very happy mood. Seated near him were Ram, Balarm, Balarm's father, M., Manomohan, and several young devotees. He was conversing with them.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna went to the porch for a few minutes and then returned. As he was going out, Vishvamvhar's daughter, six or seven years old, saluted him. On returning to the room, the Master began talking to the little girl and her companions, who were of the same age.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna laughed and sat down. He returned the salute and bowed to the child, touching the ground with his forehead. He asked her to sing. The child said, "I swear I don't sing." When the Master pressed her again, she said, "Should you press me when I said 'I swear'?" The Master was very happy with the children and sang light and frivolous songs to entertain them. He sang:
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna began to talk with M. Other devotees, too, were present.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna went to the inner apartments to see the Deity. He offered some flowers.
  
  --
  
  So saying, Sri Ramakrishna became overwhelmed with divine ecstasy and sang: If only I can pass away repeating Durga's name, How canst Thou then, O Blessed One,
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna came down to consciousness of the world. Pointing to Shashadhar, he said to M., "Why don't you prod him?" He wanted M. or some other devotee to ask Shashadhar a question.
  
  --
  
  In the mean time the small car of Jagannath had been brought to the verandah. Inside the car were the images of Krishna, Balarama, and Subhadra. They were adorned with flowers, garlands, jewelry, and yellow apparel. Balarm was a sattvic worshipper: there was no outward grandeur in his worship. Outsiders did not even know of this Car Festival at his house. The Master and the devotees went to the verandah. Sri Ramakrishna pulled the car by the rope. Then he began to sing:
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna danced with the devotees. The musician and his party joined the Master in the music and dancing. Soon the whole verandah was filled with people. The ladies witnessed this scene of joy from an adjoining room. It appeared as if Chaitanya himself were dancing with his devotees, intoxicated with divine love.
  
  It was not yet dusk. Sri Ramakrishna returned to the drawing-room with the devotees.
  
  --
  
  Pundit Shashadhar was ready to leave. Sri Ramakrishna asked a devotee to bring a carriage for the pundit.
  
  --
  
  It was dusk. Sri Ramakrishna began to chant the names of the Divine Mother, Krishna, Rma, and Hari. The devotees sat in silence. The Master chanted the names in such sweet tones that the hearts of the devotees were deeply touched. That day Balarm's house was like Navadvip when Chaitanya lived there. On the verandah it was like Navadvip, and in the parlour it was like Vrindvan.
  
  That same night Sri Ramakrishna was to go to Dakshineswar. Balarm took him into the inner apartments and served him with refreshments. The ladies of the family saluted the Master.
  
  --
  
  Presently Sri Ramakrishna came and joined the singers.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room in the temple garden at Dakshineswar after his midday meal. A party of Bauls from Shibpur, several devotees from Bhawanipur, Balarm, and M. were in the room. Rkhl, Ltu, and Harish were then living with the Master. They too were present.
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna sang the last song he went into samdhi. The devotees sat speechless, gazing at his radiant figure. After some time he regained partial consciousness of the world and began to talk to the Divine Mother.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had now regained full consciousness of the world, and he continued: "There are many kinds of renunciation. One of them may be called 'Markata Vairgya', 'Monkey Renunciation'. It is a false renunciation stimulated by the afflictions of the world. That renunciation doesn't last long. Then there is real renunciation. A man with everything in the world, lacking nothing, feels all to be unreal.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was going to the pine-grove. A beautiful, dark rain-cloud was to be seen in the northwest. The Master asked M.: "Do you think it will rain? Please bring my umbrella." M. brought the umbrella. Reaching the Panchavati, the Master said to Ltu, who also accompanied him, "Why do you look so sickly?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna asked M. whether he thought that Baburam was guileless.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna returned to his room and sat on the small couch. He began to praise a medicine that a certain brahmachari had prepared for him. Referring to this man, Hazra said: "He is now entangled in many worldly anxieties. What a shame! Look at Nabai Chaitanya of Konnagar. Though a householder, he has put on a red cloth."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was silent a few minutes and then resumed the conversation.
  
  --
  
  It was now dusk. Sri Ramakrishna, as was usual with him during this part of the day, chanted the names of God and turned his mind to contemplation. Soon the moon rose in the sky. The temples, courtyards, and trees were bathed in its silvery light, and millions of broken moons played on the rippling surface of the Ganges. Rkhl and M.
  
  --
  
  A little later M. was sitting at the Bathing-Ghat on the Ganges. The flood tide had just set in. As he listened to the waters lapping against the bank, many pictures of Sri Ramakrishna's divine life flitted before his mind: the Master's deep samdhi, his constant ecstasy, his joy in the love of God, his untiring discourse on spiritual life, his genuine love for the devotees, and, above all, his childlike simplicity. Who was this man? Was it God who had embodied Himself on earth for the sake of His devotees?
  
  --
  
  About three o'clock in the afternoon Sri Ramakrishna was seated in Adhar's parlour on the second floor. Narendra, the Mukherji brothers, Bhavanath, M., Hazra, and other devotees were with the Master.
  
  --
  
  The musician sang again. As he improvised new lines describing ecstatic love of God, the Master stood up and danced. He himself improvised lines and sang them with outstretched arms. Soon he went into samdhi and sat down, with his head resting on the bolster in front of him. The musician was also carried away with emotion and sang new songs. Sri Ramakrishna again stood up and began to dance. The devotees could not control themselves. They too danced with the Master. While dancing, Sri Ramakrishna every now and then went into deep samdhi. When he was in the deepest samdhi he could not utter a word and his whole body remained transfixed. The devotees danced encircling him. After a while, regaining partial consciousness, he danced with the strength of a lion, intoxicated with ecstatic love. But even then he could not utter a word. Finally, regaining more of the consciousness of the world, he sang again, improvising the lines. An intense spiritual atmosphere was created in Adhar's parlour. At the sound of the loud music a large crowd had gathered in the street.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna danced a long time in the company of the devotees. When he resumed his seat, still tinged with the lingering glow of divine fervour, he asked Narendra to sing "O Mother, make me mad with Thy love".
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna and the devotees rested awhile. Narendra said to the Master in a low voice, "Will you kindly sing that one?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sang, describing the beauty of Sri Chaitanya: Who has brought Gaur to Nadia
  
  --
  
  HAZRA: "The man was a Vaishnava. He came with me to see you [meaning Sri Ramakrishna]. As soon as he sat in front of you, you turned your back on him."
  
  --
  
  Adhar was a low-caste Hindu. Therefore some of the Master's brahmin devotees hesitated to eat at his house. They came to their senses at last when they saw Sri Ramakrishna himself eating.
  
  --
  
  The Mukherji brothers had arranged with a singer of Kirtan to entertain the Master the following day. Ram was taking singing lessons from this musician. Sri Ramakrishna asked Narendra to come to Dakshineswar to hear the Kirtan.
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna was about to leave, M. saluted him, touching the Master's feet with his forehead. The Master said to him tenderly: "Then I shall see you tomorrow.
  
  --
  
  When M. saluted Sri Ramakrishna, the Master asked: "Where is Narendra? Isn't he coming?" M. told him that Narendra could not come.
  
  A brahmin devotee was reading to the Master from a book of devotional songs by Ramprasad. Sri Ramakrishna asked him to continue. The brahmin read a song, the first line of which was: "O Mother, put on Thy clothes."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna walked toward the Panchavati with M. and a few other devotees. It was midday and time for the flood-tide in the Ganges.
  
  --
  
  Presently the tide came up the Ganges. They heard the sound of the rushing water. The tide struck the bank of the river and flowed toward the north. Sri Ramakrishna looked at it intently and exclaimed like a child: "Look at that boat! I wonder what is going to happen to it."
  
  The Master and M. sat down for a while in the Panchavati, Sri Ramakrishna placing his umbrella on the cement platform. The conversation turned to Narayan. The boy was a student. Sri Ramakrishna looked upon him as Narayana, God Himself, and was very fond of him.
  
  --
  
  Kishori had several children. His salary was too small to support his family. Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "Naran said he would get a job for Kishori. Please remind him of it."
  
  --
  
  A little later Sri Ramakrishna was seated again on his couch, the devotees sitting on the floor. Shyamdas was singing with his party.
  
  --
  
  The Master became somewhat abstracted, but the musician could not create a spiritual atmosphere. Sri Ramakrishna asked Nabai of Konnagar to sing a kirtan. Nabai was Manomohan's uncle. He lived on the bank of the Ganges, devoting his time to prayer and meditation, and was a frequent visitor of Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar.
  
  --
  
  After the kirtan, Sri Ramakrishna resumed his seat. With great feeling he began to sing of the Divine Mother, his eyes turned upward:
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna resumed his seat, still charged with divine ecstasy. Coming down a little to the normal state, he said: "Om! Om! Om!
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna listened to the hymn with folded hands. After it was sung he saluted Brahman; the devotees did likewise.
  
  --
  
  It was about dusk. Many of the devotees took their leave. A lamp was lighted in Sri Ramakrishna's room and incense was burnt.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on his couch. He was in a spiritual mood, absorbed in contemplation of the Divine Mother. Now and then he chanted Her hallowed name. Adhar was sitting on the floor. M. and Niranjan, too, were there. Sri Ramakrishna began to talk to Adhar.
  
  --
  
  Like the mother bird brooding over her chicks, Sri Ramakrishna was alert to protect his devotees.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sat on the floor for his supper. It was a light meal of a little farina pudding and one or two luchis that had been offered in the Kli temple. M. and Ltu were in the room. The devotees had brought various sweets for the Master. He touched a sandesh and asked Ltu, "Who is the rascal that brought this?" He took it out of the cup and left it on the ground. He said to Ltu and M.: "I know all about him. He is immoral"
  
  --
  
  M. had received an English education. Sri Ramakrishna said to him: "It is not possible for me to eat things offered by anyone and everyone. Do you believe this?"
  
  --
  
  After finishing the meal Sri Ramakrishna washed his mouth. He said to M., "Then will you give the rupee to Naran?" "Yes," said M., "certainly I will."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room with Narendra, Bhavanath, the Mukherji brothers, and other devotees. Rkhl was staying with Balarm at Vrindvan and was laid up with an attack of fever. Narendra was preparing himself for his coming law examination.
  
  --
  
  MASTER (smiling): "No, he has been wise like this from his boyhood." (All laugh.) Presently Sri Ramakrishna returned from the pine-grove. The devotees noticed that he was in an ecstatic mood and was reeling like a drunkard. After reaching his room he regained the normal state.
  
  --
  
  A devotee from Konnagar sang a song. Every now and then Sri Ramakrishna glanced at the sadhaka. The singer and Narendra became engaged in a furious discussion about musical technique. The sadhaka said to the singer, "What is the use of such discussions?" Referring to another man who had joined in the discussion, Sri Ramakrishna said to the sadhaka, "Why didn't you scold him, too?" It could be seen that the sadhaka was not on friendly terms with his companions from Konnagar.
  
  --
  
  The sadhaka closed his eyes in meditation as he listened to the song. It was four o'clock in the afternoon. The rays of the setting sun fell on his body. Sri Ramakrishna quickly opened an umbrella and placed it near the door so that the sun might not disturb the sadhaka.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna, still in the ecstatic mood, came dawn from his couch to the floor and sat by Narendra. The beloved disciple sang again: In Wisdom's firmament the moon of Love is rising full, And Love's flood-tide, in surging waves, is flowing everywhere.
  
  --
  
  As Narendra sang the last line, Sri Ramakrishna stood up, still absorbed in samdhi.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had said, "Mother, I won't listen to any more argument."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said with a smile: "O Mother, make me mad! God cannot be realized through knowledge and reasoning, through the arguments in the scriptures." He had been pleased with the singing of the musician from Konnagar and said to him humbly: "Please sing about the Divine Mother. Please - one song."
  
  --
  
  Saying this, Sri Ramakrishna sang a few lines from a kirtan, assuming the attitude of a gopi:
  
  --
  
  Again in an abstracted mood Sri Ramakrishna said: "The beginner, the struggling, the perfect, and the supremely perfect. Which are youperfect or supremely perfect? Come along! Sing for us."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna, still in an ecstatic mood, was talking to the Divine Mother.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna became conscious of the outer world and began to converse with Narendra, Bhavanath, and the other devotees.
  
  --
  
  Mahendra Mukherji wanted to go on a pilgrimage. He told Sri Ramakrishna so.
  
  --
  
  It was about five o'clock in the afternoon. Sri Ramakrishna left his room. The devotees were walking in the garden. Many of them were about to leave.
  
  --
  
  Accompanied by Narendra and M., Sri Ramakrishna walked to the embankment of the Ganges.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna stood listening to the song and went into samdhi. The sun was still above the horizon as the Master stood on the embankment in the ecstatic mood. On one side of him was the Ganges, flowing north with the flood-tide. Behind him was the flower garden. To his right one could see the nahabat and the Panchavati. Narendra stood by his side and sang. Gradually the darkness of evening fell upon the earth.
  
  After Narendra and several other devotees had saluted the Master and left for Calcutta, Sri Ramakrishna returned to his room. He was absorbed in meditation on the Divine Mother and was chanting Her holy name.
  
  --
  
  Jadu Mallick had arrived at his garden house next to the Kli temple. He sent for the Master. Adhar, too, had arrived from Calcutta, and he saluted Sri Ramakrishna. The Master asked Ltu to light the lantern and accompany him to Jadu's garden.
  
  --
  
  The Master went to Jadu's drawing-room. It was a well furnished room, with everything spick and span. The lamps were lighted. Jadu was sitting with his friends and was playing with the children. Servants were in attendance. Smiling, Jadu welcomed Sri Ramakrishna, but he did not get up. He treated the Master as a friend of long acquaintance.
  
  Jadu was a devotee of Gaurnga. He had just seen a performance of Gaurnga's life at the Star Theatre and told the Master about it. The Master listened to his account joyfully and played with the children. M. and the Mukherji brothers sat near him. In the course of the conversation Sri Ramakrishna told Jadu that Adhar had not been able to secure the post of vice-chairman of the Calcutta Municipality. Jadu said that Adhar was still young and could try for it again. At his request the Master sang a few songs about Gaurnga.
  
  After the music was over, the Mukherjis were about to take their leave. The Master, too, was ready to go, but he was in an ecstatic mood. On coming to the porch he went into samdhi. The gate-keeper of the garden house was a pious man. Now and then he invited the Master to his house and fed him. Sri Ramakrishna stood there in samdhi and the gate-keeper fanned him with a large fan. Ratan, the manager of the garden house, saluted the Master, and Sri Ramakrishna, returning to the consciousness of the relative world, greeted the manager and the gate-keeper, saying, "Narayana". Then, accompanied by the devotees, he went back to the temple-garden through the main gate.
  
  --
  
  They began to talk of Sri Ramakrishna's seeing a play, at the Star Theatre, about the life of Cauranga.
  
  --
  
  IT WAS MAHALAYA, a sacred day of the Hindus, and the day of the new moon. At two o'clock in the afternoon Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room with Mahendra Mukherji, Priya Mukherji, M., Baburam, Harish, Kishori, and Ltu. Some were sitting on the floor, some standing, and others moving about. Hazra was sitting on the porch. Rkhl was still at Vrindvan with Balarm.
  
  --
  
  Rkhl had been staying at Vrindvan with Balarm. At first he had written excited letters praising the holy place. He had written to M.: "It is the best of all places. Please come here. The peacocks dance around, and one always hears and sees religious music and dancing. There is an unending flow of divine bliss." But then Rkhl had been laid up with an attack of fever. Sri Ramakrishna was very much worried about him and vowed to worship the Divine Mother for his recovery. So he began to talk about Rkhl.
  
  --
  
  MASTER: The Brahmos tell him: 'You mix with people who worship God with form. You are an idolater.' Vijay is liberal and straightforward. Unless a man is guileless, he doesn't receive the grace of God. Sri Ramakrishna talked to the Mukherji brothers.
  
  --
  
  Then Sri Ramakrishna told a few naughty jokes for the young men.
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna was thus talking to God, the devotees listened wonder-struck to his words. The Master's eyes fell upon them.
  
  --
  
  Hazra entered the room. He had been living with Sri Ramakrishna in the temple garden for the past two years and had first met the Master in 1880 at Sihore in the house of Hriday, the Master's nephew. Hazra's native village was near Sihore, and he owned some property there. He had a wife and children and also some debts. From youth he had felt a spirit of renunciation and sought the company of holy men and devotees. The Master had asked him to live with him at Dakshineswar and looked after his necessities. Hazra's mind was a jumble of undigested religious moods. He professed the path of knowledge and disapproved of Sri Ramakrishna's attitude of bhakti and his longing for the young devotees. Now and then he thought of the Master as a great soul, but again he slighted him as an ordinary human being. He spent much of his time in telling his beads, and he criticized Rkhl and the other young men for their indifference to the practice. He was a strong advocate of religious conventions and rules of conduct, and made a fad of them.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna and the devotees went to the Vishnu temple and saluted the Deity. The brahmins belonging to the staff of the temple garden, and also the priests, the cooks, and the servants, were singing the kirtan. He stood there a few minutes and encouraged the singers. On the way back to his room he remarked to the devotees, "You see, some of them polish the metal utensils and some go to houses of prostitution."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna remained standing. As the carriage rolled away, the devotees looked back at the Master's face beaming with compassion and love.
  
  --
  
  A large number of devotees were in Sri Ramakrishna's room, among them Ram, Mahendra Mukherji, M., and Chunilal. Chunilal had just returned from Vrindvan, where he had gone with Rkhl and Balarm. The two latter were still there. Nityagopal also was staying there. The Master began to talk with Chunilal about Vrindvan.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna then spoke to Mahendra Mukherji about Narayan, a school-boy sixteen or seventeen years old, who often visited the Master and was very dear to him.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was planning to go to a performance of the Chaitanyalila at the Star Theatre. Mahendra Mukherji was to take him to Calcutta in his carriage. They were talking about choosing good seats. Some suggested that one could see the performance well from the one-rupee gallery. Ram said, "Oh, no! I shall engage a box for him." The Master laughed. Some of the devotees said that public women took part in the play.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna left his from and went toward the pine-grove talking with M. A devotee followed them with water and towel. The Master was talking about his intended visit to the Star Theatre. He said to M.: "What Ram says applies to rajasic people. What is the use of reserving an expensive seat?"
  
  About five o'clock that afternoon Sri Ramakrishna was on his way to Calcutta. M., Mahendra Mukherji, and a few other devotees accompanied him in Mahendra's carriage.
  
  --
  
  Mahendra took the Master to his flour-mill located at Hathibagan. After a little rest Sri Ramakrishna was to go to the theatre. Mahendra did not care to take him to his own house, for the Master was not well acquainted with his father. Priyanath, Mahendra's second brother, was also a devotee of the Master.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on a cot over which a carpet had been spread, and was engaged in spiritual talk.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna washed his face. A smoke was prepared for him. He said to M.: "Is. it dusk now? If it is, I won't smoke. During the twilight hour of the dusk you should give up all other activities and remember God." Saying this he looked at the hairs on his arm. He wanted to see whether he could count them. If he could not, it would be dusk.
  
  --
  
  The hall was brilliantly lighted. The Master looked down at the pit and saw that it was crowded. The boxes also were full. For every box there was a man to fan those who occupied it. Sri Ramakrishna was filled with joy and said to M., with his childlike smile: "Ah, it is very nice here! I am glad to have come. I feel inspired when I see so many people together. Then I clearly perceive that God Himself has become everything."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna watched the scene and was overpowered with divine ecstasy. He said to M.: "Look at it! Ah! Ah!"
  
  --
  
  M. was seated beside the Master. Sri Ramakrishna could not control himself. He cried out, "Ah!" and shed tears of love. He said to Baburam and M.: "Don't make a fuss if I fall into an ecstatic mood or go into samdhi. Then the worldly people will take me for a cheat."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna praised the voice of the singer highly.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna looked at M. He was eager to say something but he could not. His voice was choked with emotion; the tears ran down his cheeks; with unmoving eyes he watched Nimai clinging to Srivas's feet and saying, "Sir, I have not yet attained devotion to Krishna."
  
  --
  
  At this song Sri Ramakrishna went into samdhi. He remained in that state a long time.
  
  The orchestra played on. Gradually his mind came down to the relative plane. In the mean time a young man of Khardaha, born in the holy family of Nityananda, had entered the box. He was standing behind the Master's chair. Sri Ramakrishna was filled with delight at the sight of him. He held his hand and talked to him affectionately. Every now and then he said: "Please sit down here. Your very presence awakens my spiritual feeling." He played tenderly with the young man's hands and lovingly stroked his face.
  
  After he had left, Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "He is a great scholar. His father is a great devotee of God. When I go to Khardaha to visit Syamasundar, the father entertains me with sacred offerings such as one cannot buy even for a hundred rupees. This young man has good traits. A little shaking will awaken his inner spirit. At the sight of him my spiritual mood is aroused. I should have been overwhelmed with ecstasy if he had stayed here a little longer."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was in an ecstatic mood.
  
  --
  
  At this point many in the audience burst into tears. Sri Ramakrishna remained still and looked intently at the stage. A single tear appeared in the corner of each eye. The performance was over.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was about to enter a carriage. A devotee asked him how he had enjoyed the play. The Master said with a smile, "I found the representation the same as the real."
  
  The carriage proceeded toward Mahendra's mill. Suddenly, Sri Ramakrishna went into an ecstatic mood and murmured to himself in loving tones: "O Krishna! O Krishna! Krishna is knowledge! Krishna is soul! Krishna is mind! Krishna is life! Krishna is body!" He continued: "O Govinda, Thou art my life! Thou art my soul!"
  
  --
  
  With Mahendra and a few other devotees, Sri Ramakrishna left in the carriage for the Dakshineswar temple garden. The Master was in a happy mood. He sang a song about Gaurnga and Nitai. M. sang with him:
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had come to Calcutta. It was the first day of the Durga Puja, the great religious festival, and the Hindus of the metropolis were celebrating it. The Master intended to visit the image of the Divine Mother at Adhar's house. He also wanted to see Shivanath, the Brahmo devotee.
  
  --
  
  A little after three the Master's carriage drove up. As soon as Sri Ramakrishna stepped out he saluted the temple of the Brahmo Samaj with folded hands. Hazra and a few other devotees were with him. M. bowed before the Master and took the dust of his feet.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was in a happy mood. He was given a seat below the altar. There the Brahmo devotees sang their devotional music. Vijay and the Brahmo devotees sat in front of the Master.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was about to depart. The Brahmo devotees bowed low before him and he returned their salute. Then, getting into the carriage, he set out for Adhar's house to see the image of the Divine Mother.
  
  --
  
  It was the day of the Mahshtami, the most auspicious day of the worship of Durga, the Divine Mother. At Adhar's invitation Sri Ramakrishna had come to Calcutta to see the holy image at his house. Before going there he went to Ram's. Many devotees, including Narendra, Baburam, M., Niranjan, Vijay, Kedr, Ram, and Surendra, were present.
  
  --
  
  Narendra was seated in front of the Master. He was about twenty-two years old. While Sri Ramakrishna was talking thus his eyes fell upon his beloved disciple. At once the Master stood up and went into samdhi. He placed one foot on Narendra's knee. He was in a deep spiritual mood, his eyes unblinking, his mind completely unconscious of the outer world. After a long time he came down to the relative plane of consciousness; but he still appeared dazed, for the intoxication of divine bliss had not altogether left him.
  
  --
  
  Saying this, Sri Ramakrishna came down to the normal mood. Then he talked freely with the devotees. The Master asked Kedr to sing.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna looked in another direction and sang in an absent-minded mood: Ah, friend! I have not found Him yet, whose love has driven me mad....
  
  Again he became ecstatic and sang of the Divine Mother. As he sang, Vijay suddenly stood up crying the name of Hari. Sri Ramakrishna, full of divine love, began to dance with Vijay and the other devotees.
  
  The music was over. The Master, Vijay, Narendra, and the other devotees sat down. All eyes were fixed on Sri Ramakrishna, who began conversing with the devotees. He asked about their health. Kedr spoke to him humbly in a soft, sweet voice. Narendra, Chunilal, Ram, M., and Harish were sitting by the Master.
  
  --
  
  M. wanted to accompany Sri Ramakrishna to Dakshineswar that very day. He became thoughtful.
  
  Surendra stood near Sri Ramakrishna. He was in the habit of drinking and often went to excess. This had worried the Master greatly, but he had not asked Surendra to give up drinking altogether. He had said to him: "Look here, Surendra! Whenever you drink wine, offer it beforehand to the Divine Mother. See that your brain doesnt become clouded and that you don't reel The more you think of the Divine Mother, the less you will like to drink The Mother is the Giver of the bliss of divine inebriation. Realizing Her, one feels a natural bliss."
  
  --
  
  Supper was ready on the roof. Sri Ramakrishna and the devotees were taken there and sumptuously fed. Later the Master went to Adhar's house with M., Niranjan, and others.
  
  The Divine Mother was being worshipped there, It had been Adhar's earnest prayer that on this sacred day Sri Ramakrishna might bless his house with his presence.
  
  --
  
  Bhavanath, Baburam, Niranjan, and M. had spent the night at Dakshineswar, sleeping on the porch of the Master's room. As soon as they awoke they saw Sri Ramakrishna dancing in an ecstatic mood. He was chanting: "Victory to Mother Durga! Hallowed be the name of Durga!" He was naked and looked like a child as he chanted the name of the Blissful Mother. After a few moments he said: "Oh, the bliss of divine ecstasy! Oh, the bliss of divine drunkenness!" Then he repeatedly chanted the name of Govinda: "O
  
  --
  
  The devotees sat on their beds and with unwinking eyes watched Sri Ramakrishna's spiritual mood. Hazra was living at the temple garden. Ltu was also living there to render the Master personal service. Rkhl was still at Vrindvan. Narendra visited Sri Ramakrishna now and then. He was expected that day.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna entered his room and sat down. His legs were a little swollen. He asked the devotees to feel his legs and see whether or not the pressure of their fingers made dimples. Dimples did appear with the pressure, but the devotees said that it was nothing.
  
  --
  
  Presently Narendra arrived, and Sri Ramakrishna was exceedingly happy. Narendra saluted the Master and began to talk with Bhavanath and others in the room. M. was seated near by. A long mat was spread on the floor. While talking, Narendra lay on it flat on his stomach. The Master looked at him and suddenly went into samdhi. He sat on Narendra's back in an ecstatic mood.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna came down from the plane of samdhi. He sang: Repeat, O mind, my Mother Durga's hallowed name!
  
  --
  
  With these words Sri Ramakrishna tried to perform a little japa. But hardly had he begun when he went into samdhi. He sat in that state a long time, still holding the rosary in his hand. The devotees looked at him with wonder in their eyes. Hazra also watched the Master without uttering a word. After a long time Sri Ramakrishna regained consciousness of the outer world and said that he was hungry. He often said such things to bring his mind down to the normal plane. M. was going to bring something for him to eat. The Master said, "No, I shall first go to the Kli temple."
  
  --
  
  After his meal Sri Ramakrishna rested a few minutes. The devotees were on the verandah engaged in light conversation. He soon joined them and was happy in their company. It was about two o'clock. All were, still sitting on the verandah, when suddenly Bhavanath appeared in the garb of a brahmachari, dressed in an ochre cloth, kamandalu in hand, his face beaming with smiles.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna did not encourage the conversation. Indeed, he made fun of it.
  
  --
  
  A sdhu was staying at the Panchavati. But he was a hot-tempered man; he scolded and cursed everyone. He came to the Master's room wearing wooden sandals and asked the Master, "Can I get fire here?" Sri Ramakrishna saluted him and stood with folded hands as long as he remained in the room.
  
  --
  
  The devotees were engaged in a game of golokdham. Hazra joined them. The Master stood by, watching them play. M. and Kishori reached "heaven". Sri Ramakrishna bowed before them and said, "Blessed are you two brothers." He said to M., aside, "Don't play any more." Hazra fell into "hell". The Master said: "What's the matter with Hazra?
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch in his room. Narendra, Baburam, Bhavanath, and M. were sitting on the floor. Narendra referred to various religious sects-the Ghoshpara, Panchanami, and others. Sri Ramakrishna described their views and condemned their immoral practices. He said that they could not follow the right course of spiritual discipline, but enjoyed sensuous pleasures in the name of religion.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was dancing in a circle. The devotees joined him. They all sang and danced. Their bliss was indescribable. The Master sang about the Divine Mother: Behold my Mother playing with iva, lost in an ecstasy of joy!...
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was highly pleased because M. had joined in the music. He said to M., with a smile, "The atmosphere would have been more intense with divine fervour if a drum had accompanied the music and played: 'Tak tak ta dhina! Dak dak da dhina!' "
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had set out from Dakshineswar for Adhar's house in Calcutta. Narayan and Gangadhar were with him. In the carriage, in an ecstatic mood, he said: "Shall I count the beads? How shameful that would be! This emblem of iva has sprung from the bowels of the earth; it is self created and not set up by man's hands."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna smiled. Vaishnavcharan began a kirtan about Radha and Krishna. When the music was nearing its end, with the union of Radha and Krishna, the Master began to dance with ecstatic fervour. The devotees danced and sang around him. After the music they all sat down. The Master said to Vijay, referring to Vaishnavcharan, "He sings very well." He asked the musician to sing the song about Sri Chaitanya, beginning with the line, "The beautiful Gaurnga, the youthful dancer, fair as molten gold."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna also sang a song about Sri Chaitanya, M. joining him. Then Vaishnavcharan sang another song:
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna stood up and said, addressing Kedr and Vijay: "Come. Come with me."
  

2.30_-_2.39_-_THE_MASTER_IN_VARIOUS_MOODS, #Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, #Sri Ramakrishna, #Hinduism
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room at Dakshineswar. Ltu, Ramlal, Harish, and Hazra were living with him at the temple garden. Baburam spent a day or two with him now and then.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was worrying, like a child, because he thought his legs were slightly swollen. Mahendra Kaviraj of Sinthi entered the room and. saluted the Master.
  
  --
  
  Several young men from the village of Dakshineswar entered the room and saluted Sri Ramakrishna. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon. They sat down and began to talk with the Master.
  
  --
  
  Manilal, the Mrwri devotees, the Brahmo devotees from Shibpur, and the young men from Dakshineswar saluted Sri Ramakrishna and took their leave.
  
  --
  
  Was Sri Ramakrishna hinting at his own state of mind while thus describing the different attitudes of a lover of God?
  
  --
  
  It was the day of the first full moon after the Durga Puja. Sri Ramakrishna arrived at the Calcutta house of Nabin Sen, the elder brother of Keshab Chandra Sen. On the previous Thursday Keshab's mother had begged the Master to pay her a visit in Calcutta.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to the Brahmo devotees: "The world is impermanent. One should constantly remember death." Then he sang:
  
  --
  
  At Sri Ramakrishna's request the Brahmo devotees sang: Thou art my All in All, O Lord!- the Life of my life, the Essence of essence;
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room after the midday meal, with M., Hazra, the elder Kli, Baburam, Ramlal, Hari, and others. Some of them sat on the floor and some stood about. On the previous day the Master had visited Keshab's mother at her Calcutta house and had made her happy with his devotional songs.
  
  --
  
  KALl (to Hazra): "You go about criticizing people; you are like a touchstone, testing what is pure gold and what is impure. Why do you speak so much ill of others?" HAZRA: "Whatever I say, I say to him [meaning Sri Ramakrishna] alone."
  
  --
  
  Two monks had arrived at the temple garden in the morning. They were devoted to the study of the Bhagavad Git, the Vednta, and other scriptures. They entered the Master's room, saluted him, and sat on the mat on the floor. Sri Ramakrishna was seated on the small couch. The Master spoke to the sdhus in Hindusthani.
  
  --
  
  The devotees in the room remained silent. Sri Ramakrishna was smiling a little, a picture of self-contentment. He appeared happy in his own Self.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna smiled like a child. The monks left the room. The devotees were moving about in the room and on the porch.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna strolled up and down with M. No one else was with them.
  
  --
  
  By means of questions and answers Sri Ramakrishna now explained to M. his own exalted state.
  
  --
  
  A few days earlier Sri Ramakrishna had spoken many words of warning to Narayan about women. He had said: "Don't let yourself touch the air near a woman's body. Cover yourself with a heavy sheet lest the air should touch your body. And keep yourself eight cubits, two cubits, or at least one cubit away from all women except your mother."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room. Hari, the relative of the Mukherjis, M., and other devotees were on the floor. An unknown person saluted the Master and took a seat. The Master remarked later that his eyes were not good. They were yellow, like a cat's.
  
  Hari prepared a smoke for Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  The two Mukherjis, Mahendra and Priyanath, were brothers. They did not work in an office, but had their own flour-mill. Priyanath had been an engineer. Sri Ramakrishna talked to Hari about the Mukherji brothers.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna paced the verandah. M. and Baburam walked with him.
  
  --
  
  While pacing the verandah Sri Ramakrishna suddenly took M. aside and said, "The less people know about your thoughts of God, the better for You," Saying these words the Master abruptly went away. A short time afterwards he began to talk with Hazra.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna asked Baburam to visit Narayan at his house. He looked on Narayan as God Himself, and so he longed to see him. The Master said to Baburam, "You may go to him with one of your English textbooks."
  
  About three o'clock in the afternoon Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room. Nilkantha arrived with five or six of his companions. The Master went toward the east door as if to welcome him. The musicians bowed before the Master, touching the ground with their foreheads.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna went into samdhi. Baburam stood behind him. M., Nilkantha, and the musicians were in front of him, watching him in great amazement. Dinanath, an officer of the temple, looked on from the north side of the bed. Soon the room was filled with officers of the temple garden. Sri Ramakrishna's ecstasy abated a little. He seated himself on a mat on the floor, surrounded by Nilkantha and other devotees.
  
  --
  
  After a few minutes Sri Ramakrishna said to Nilkantha: "You sang so much in the morning, and now you have taken the trouble to come here. But here everything is 'honorary'."
  
  --
  
  When the singing was over, Sri Ramakrishna said to Nilkantha, "I should like to hear that song of yours I heard in Calcutta."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sang again and again the line, "Everything is swept away by the onrush of love", and danced with Nilkantha and the other devotees. Those who saw that indescribable dancing were never to forget it. The room was filled with people, all intoxicated with divine joy. It seemed as if Chaitanya himself were dancing with his companions.
  
  Manomohan was in an ecstatic mood. He was a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna and a brother-in-law of Rkhl. Several ladies of his family had come with him. They were witnessing this divine music and dancing from the north verandah.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sang again, this time about Gaurnga and Nityananda: Behold, the two brothers have came, who weep while chanting Hari's name. . . .
  
  --
  
  The music was over Sri Ramakrishna bowed to the Divine Mother and said, "Bhagavata-Bhakta-Bhagavan. My salutations to the jnanis, my salutations to the yogis, my salutations to the bhaktas."
  
  --
  
  The autumn moon flooded all the quarters with light. Sri Ramakrishna and Nilkantha talked.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was delighted with Nilkantha's company. He said to the musician: "For you to have come here! You whom people see as a result of many austerities and prayers! Listen to a song."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna laughed. To M., Baburam, and the other devotees he said: "I feel very much like laughing. Just fancy, I am singing for these musicians!"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna lay on the small couch in his room at the Dakshineswar temple garden. It was about two in the afternoon. M. and Priya Mukherji were sitting on the floor. M. had left his school at one o'clock and had just arrived at Dakshineswar. The Master was telling anecdotes about the calculating nature of the wealthy Jadu Mallick.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna changed the subject of conversation.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna continued talking.
  
  --
  
  Narayan arrived. Sri Ramakrishna was very happy to see him. He seated Narayan by his side on the small couch. He showed him his love by stroking his body and giving him sweets to eat. Then he asked Narayan tenderly, "Will you have some water?" Narayan was a student at M.'s school. At home his people beat him for visiting Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  Again addressing Narayan, Sri Ramakrishna said: "That woman who has established an artificial relationship of mother and son with Haripada came here the other day. I have warned Haripada very often. She belongs to the Ghoshpara sect. I asked her if she had found her 'man'. She said yes, and mentioned a man's name.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was walking up and down, now in his room, now on the south verandah. Occasionally pausing on the semicircular porch west of his room, he would look at the Ganges.
  
  After a little while he returned to his room and sat on the small couch. It was past three in the afternoon. The devotees took their seats on the floor. The Master sat in silence before them, now and then casting a glance at the walls, where many pictures were hanging. To Sri Ramakrishna's left was a picture of Sarasvati, and beyond it, a picture of Gaur and Nitai singing kirtan with their devotees. In front of the Master hung pictures of Dhruva, Prahlada, and Mother Kli. On the wall to his right was another picture of the Divine Mother, Rajarajesvari. Behind him was a picture of Jesus Christ raising the drowning Peter. Suddenly Sri Ramakrishna turned to M. and said: "You see, it is good to keep pictures of sannysis and holy men in one's room. When you get up in the morning you should see the faces of holy persons rather than the faces of other men. People with rajasic qualities keep 'English' pictures on their walls-pictures of rich men, the King, the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and white men and women walking together. That shows their rajasic temperament.
  
  --
  
  A brahmin from Sinthi entered the room and saluted Sri Ramakrishna. He had studied Vednta in Benares. He was stout and had a smiling face.
  
  --
  
  The pundit from Sinthi left. It was dusk. Twilight hung over the Panchavati, the temples, and the river. Evening worship began in the different temples, accompanied by the sound of bells, gongs, and conchshells. Sri Ramakrishna bowed before the pictures of the deities in his room. He was sitting on the small couch in an abstracted mood. A few devotees were on the floor. There was silence in the room.
  
  --
  
  An hour passed. Ishan and Kishori entered and sat down on the floor after saluting Sri Ramakrishna. Ishan was a great ritualist. He was devoted to the performance of the, various rites and ceremonies prescribed by the scriptures. The Master opened the conversation.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sat in silence. After a while Ishan returned to the room accompanied by Hazra. The Master was still silent. A few moments later Hazra whispered to Ishan: "Let's leave him alone. Perhaps he will meditate now." Both left the room.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was still silent. In a few moments the devotees noticed that he was really meditating. Then he performed japa. He placed his right hand on his head, then on his forehead, then on his throat, then on his heart, and last of all on his navel. Was it meditation on the Primordial Energy in the six centres of the body?
  
  Ishan and Hazra had gone to the Kli temple. Sri Ramakrishna was absorbed in meditation. Meanwhile Adhar had arrived. It was about half past seven.
  
  --
  
  In the mean time Ishan had been holding Sri Ramakrishna's feet. He said humbly, "It is not my will that I should do those things."
  
  --
  
  The devotees listened spellbound to Sri Ramakrishna. His burning words entered their souls, spurring them along the path of renunciation.
  
  --
  
  Ishan was seated touching Sri Ramakrishna's feet and listening to his words. Now and then he cast a glance at the basalt image of Kli in the shrine. In the light of the lamp She appeared to be smiling. It was as if the living Deity, manifesting Herself through the image, was delighted to hear the Master's words, holy as the words of the Vedas.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sat down on the small couch, and Adhar, Kishori, and the other devotees sat on the foor.
  
  --
  
  After a while Sri Ramakrishna said to Adhar, "Ishan is very charitable, and he practises japa and austerity a great deal." The Master remained quiet a few moments. The eyes of the devotees were fixed on him. Suddenly Sri Ramakrishna said to Adhar, "You have both-yoga and bhoga."
  
  --
  
  All creation is the sport of my mad Mother Kli The younger brother requested Sri Ramakrishna to sing a certain song about Sri Gaurnga. The Master sang:
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna began to dance to the song. Then he himself sang: The black bee of my mind is drawn in sheer delight To the blue lotus flower of Mother Syama's feet, The blue flower of the feet of Kli, iva's Consort.
  
  --
  
  After the music and dancing Sri Ramakrishna sat on the couch and the devotees sat on the floor. He said to M.: "It is a pity you weren't here in the afternoon. The musical recital of the Chandi was very fine."
  
  --
  
  On the floor were trays full of offerings. Red hibiscus flowers and bel-leaves adorned Her feet. She wore garlands round Her neck, M.'s eyes fell on the chamara. Suddenly he remembered that Sri Ramakrishna often fanned the Divine Mother with it. With some hesitation he asked Ramlal if he might fan the image. The priest gave his permission. M.
  
  --
  
  The devotees again entered the Master's room. Beni Pl had invited Sri Ramakrishna to visit the Sinthi Brahmo Samaj the next day, but had made a mistake in his letter with regard to the date.
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna spoke, he was standing in the middle of the room with Baburam by his side. He leaned toward the disciple, touching his body.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was quiet for a time. Then he said, "I wish I had a few like Nityagopal."
  
  Again he appeared thoughtful. He remained standing. He said: "I wish Adhar Sen's duties would become fewer. But I am afraid the English officer will scold him. He may say, 'What is all this nonsense?'" (All smile.) Sri Ramakrishna sat on the small couch, and the devotees on the floor. Baburam. and Kishori came quickly to the Master and began to stroke his feet gently.
  
  --
  
  Ramlal entered the room and saluted Sri Ramakrishna, touching the ground with his forehead. Then with great respect he touched the Master's feet. He was ready to worship the Divine Mother in the temple.
  
  --
  
  It was midnight. The worship began in the Kli temple. The Master went to watch the ceremony. During the worship he stood near the image. Now the sheep was going to be slaughtered. The animal was consecrated before the Deity. People stood in lines watching the ceremony. While the sheep was being taken to the block Sri Ramakrishna returned to his room. He could not bear the sight.
  
  --
  
  It was morning. The dawn service in the temples was over and the theatrical performance was going on in the open hall in front of the shrine. M. was coming through the courtyard with Sri Ramakrishna. He wanted to take leave of the Master.
  
  --
  
  ON THIS DAY Sri Ramakrishna again visited the Sinthi Brahmo Samaj. It was the occasion of the autumn festival of the Samaj, which was being celebrated at Benimadhav Pal's garden house. The hall was decorated with flowers and greens, flags and festoons, of various colours. Outside, the blue autumn sky with its fleecy clouds was reflected in the water of the lake.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna arrived at half past four in the afternoon. Entering the hall, he bowed down before the altar. The Brahmo devotees, among whom could be noticed Vijay and Trailokya, sat around him. A sub-judge, who was a member of the Brahmo Samaj, was with them.
  
  --
  
  Presently Trailokya began to sing to the accompaniment of drums and cymbals. Sri Ramakrishna danced, intoxicated with divine love. Many times he went into samdhi. He stood still, his eyes fixed, his face beaming, with one hand on the shoulder of a beloved disciple. Coming down a little from the state of ecstasy, he danced again like a mad elephant. Regaining consciousness of the outer world, he improvised lines to the music: O Mother, dance about Thy devotees!
  
  --
  
  When the music was over, the devotees and the Master sat down. Although it was about eight o'clock, the evening worship of the Brahmo Samaj had not yet begun. In the joy of this divine music they had forgotten all about their formal worship. Vijay, who was to conduct the evening service, sat facing the Master. His mother-in-law and the other Brahmo ladies wanted to see Sri Ramakrishna; so the Master went to meet them in another room.
  
  --
  
  It was ten o'clock in the evening. The Master got into a carriage to return to Dakshineswar. One or two attending devotees got in with him. The carriage stood under a tree, in deep darkness. Beni Pl wanted to send some sweets and other food with Sri Ramakrishna for Ramlal, the Master's nephew.
  
  --
  
  Two days after the worship of Kli, the Mrwris of the Burrabazar section of Calcutta were celebrating the Annakuta festival. Sri Ramakrishna had been invited by the Mrwri devotees to the ceremony at 12 Mallick Street. It was the second day of the bright fortnight of the moon. The festival connected with the worship of Kli, known as the "Festival of Light", was still going on at Burra bazar.
  
  --
  
  had in his hand a bundle of cloths he had purchased for Sri Ramakrishna. Mallick Street was jammed with people, bullock-carts, and carriages. As M. and Gopal approached Mallick Street they noticed Sri Ramakrishna in a carriage, which could hardly move because of the jam. Baburam and Ram Chakravarty were with the Master. He smiled at M. and Gopal.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna alighted from the carriage. With Baburam he proceeded on foot to the house of his host, M. leading the way. They saw the courtyard of the house filled with big bales of clothes which were being loaded into bullock-carts for shipment. The Mrwri host greeted the Master and led him to the third floor of the house. A painting of Kli hung on the wall. Sri Ramakrishna bowed before it. He sat down and became engaged in conversation with the devotees. One of the Mrwris began to stroke his feet. The Master asked him to stop. After reflecting a minute he said, "All right, you can stroke them a little." His words were full of compassion.
  
  --
  
  The host sent a pundit to Sri Ramakrishna. He saluted the Master and took a seat. Soon they were engaged in conversation. They talked about spiritual things.
  
  --
  
  The pundit and Sri Ramakrishna were talking in Hindusthani. The former gave some sort of explanation of prema.
  
  --
  
  After a few minutes the pundit saluted Sri Ramakrishna. He said: "I shall have to perform my daily devotions. Please let me go."
  
  --
  
  The pundit sat down again. The conversation turned to hathayoga. The pundit discussed the subject with the Master in Hindusthani. Sri Ramakrishna said: "Yes, that is also a form of austerity. But the hathayogi identifies himself with his body. His mind dwells on his body alone." The pundit took leave of the Master. Sri Ramakrishna conversed with the pundit's son.
  
  --
  
  The conversation went on. Sri Ramakrishna was leaning against a big pillow; the devotees were sitting on the floor. Lying in that position, the Master began to sing: Brother, joyfully cling to God;
  
  --
  
  Their host entered the room and saluted Sri Ramakrishna. He was a pious man and devoted to the Master. The pundit's son was still there. The Master asked if the Panini, the Sanskrit grammar, was taught in the schools. He further asked about the Nyaya and the Vednta philosophies. The host did not show much interest in the discussion and changed the subject.
  
  --
  
  As, Sri Ramakrishna spoke these words, he bowed down to the host and said, with folded hands: "'That Rma dwells in all beings; He exists everywhere in the universe. "I am your servant. It is Rma Himself who has become all men, animals, and other living beings."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was resting. The Mrwri devotees had been singing bhajan on the roof. They were celebrating the Krishna festival. Arrangements had been made for worship and food offering. At the host's request the Master went to see the image. He bowed down before the Deity.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was profoundly moved as he stood before the image. With folded hands he said: "O Govinda, Thou art my soul! Thou art my life! Victory to Govinda! Hallowed be the name of Govinda! Thou art the Embodiment of Satchidananda! Oh, Krishna! Ah, Krishna! Krishna is knowledge. Krishna is mind. Krishna is life. Krishna is soul. Krishna is body. Krishna is caste. Krishna is family. O Govinda, my life and soul!"
  
  Uttering these words," Sri Ramakrishna went into samdhi. He remained standing. Ram Chatterji supported him.
  
  After a long time the Master regained consciousness of the world. The Mrwri devotees were about to take out the image. The offering of food was to take place outside the room. The Master joined the procession of devotees. The food was offered with rati and music. Sri Ramakrishna fanned the image.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna took leave of the host. It was evening and the street was jammed as before with people and vehicles. He said: "Let us get out of the carriage. It can go by a back street." Proceeding on foot, he found that a betel-leaf seller had opened his stall in front of a small room that looked like a hole. One could not possibly enter it without bending one's head. The Master said: "How painful it is to be shut in such a small space!
  
  --
  
  Referring to a devotee, Sri Ramakrishna said: "I said to him yesterday, 'Tomorrow I shall go to Burra bazar; please meet me there.' Do you know what he said? He said: The tram fare will be one nn. Where shall I get it?' He had been to Beni Pl's garden yesterday and had officiated there as priest. No one had asked him to do it. He had put on the show himself. He wanted people to know that he was a member of the Brahmo Samaj.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna proceeded to Dakshineswar in a happy mood.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna, happy child of the Divine Mother that he was, radiated a joy and peace that were reflected in the hearts of his devotees and found expression in their happy faces. They were seated on the floor and had their eyes fixed on the Master, who was standing in a pensive mood, like a boy.
  
  --
  
  accompanying him. The road through the garden was covered with red brick-dust. The manager of the temple, who was standing on the road, saluted Sri Ramakrishna. The Master passed the north entrance of the temple compound, where the bearded sentries sat. On his left he passed the kuthi, the building used by the proprietors of the temple.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna smiled and said to him by way of consolation: "One cannot avoid such sorrows in the world. Pleasure and pain are inevitable in worldly life. (Pointing to M.) That is why they come here now and then. They get peace of mind by hearing about God. What is your trouble?"
  
  --
  
  M. did not know how to answer Sri Ramakrishna; so he kept silent.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna returned to his room and sat on the small couch. The devotees had been waiting for him eagerly. Several devotees from Konnagar had arrived. One of them came forward to question the Master.
  
  --
  
  was present. Mahima said to Sri Ramakrishna: "Sir, I have a complaint against you. Why have you asked Hazra to go home? He has no desire to return to his family."
  
  --
  
  Toward evening Sri Ramakrishna was pacing the room. M. was sitting alone, thinking.
  
  --
  
  At dusk incense was burnt in Sri Ramakrishna's room, and, as usual, he bowed before the pictures of gods and goddesses on the walls and chanted their names softly. From outside one could hear the murmuring of the Ganges and the music of the evening worship in the temples of Kli, Vishnu, and iva. Through the door one could see the priest at a distance moving from one temple to another, a bell in his left hand and a light in his right, an attendant carrying the gong. The evening melody was in harmony with the spirit of the hour and place and with the innermost thoughts of the worshippers. For the time being the sordid things of daily life were forgotten.
  
  Later Sri Ramakrishna was seated in his room in his usual blissful mood. Ishan had come from Calcutta. He had burning faith in God. He used to say, "If a man leaves the house with the hallowed name of Durga on his lips, then iva Himself protects him with His celestial weapons."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was in his room, seated on the small couch and facing the east. The devotees were sitting on the floor. It was about midday when M. arrived and took a seat after saluting the Master. Gradually other devotees began to gather. Vijaykrishna Goswami was there with several Brahmo devotees. The priest Ram Chakravarty was present also. Mahimacharan, Narayan, and Kishori arrived a few minutes later.
  
  It was the beginning of winter. Sri Ramakrishna had felt the need of some shirts and had asked M. to bring them. Besides two broad cloth shirts, M. had brought another of a heavy material, for which Sri Ramakrishna had not asked.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna remained thoughtful a few minutes.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna remained silent a few moments watching the devotees. He had heard that Mahimacharan did not believe in following a guru. He began the conversation again.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna now addressed Mahimacharan, who was a householder.
  
  --
  
  A musician was expected. He was to sing with his party. Sri Ramakrishna asked the devotees every now and then, "Where is the musician?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was filled with joy and said, "Ah! Has he?"
  
  Mats were spread on the floor of the long verandah northeast of the Master's room. Sri Ramakrishna said: "Sprinkle a little Ganges water on the mats. Many worldly people have sat on them."
  
  The ladies of Pyari Babu's family, from Bali, had come to visit the temples. They wanted to listen to the kirtan. A devotee said to Sri Ramakrishna: "These ladies have been inquiring whether there would be any place in the room for them. Can they have seats?"
  
  --
  
  Narayan arrived and saluted Sri Ramakrishna. The latter said tenderly: "Why have you come? Your people at home have beaten you so much!" He signed to Baburam to give Narayan something to eat. Narayan entered the Master's room. Suddenly Sri Ramakrishna followed him. He wanted to feed Narayan with his own hands. Afterwards he returned to the verandah.
  
  --
  
  About three o'clock Adhar arrived. At the sight of him Sri Ramakrishna appeared excited.
  
  The devotee saluted the Master and sat on the floor. Sri Ramakrishna beckoned to him to come nearer.
  
  --
  
  In the evening arrangements were made for kirtan inside the Master's room. Sri Ramakrishna eagerly asked a devotee to have an extra lamp. The two lamps lit the room brightly.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to Vijay: "Why are you sitting there? Come nearer to me." This time the kirtan created an intense atmosphere. The Master danced in an ecstasy of joy; the devotees also danced encircling him. While Vijay was dancing his cloth dropped. He was unconscious.
  
  --
  
  Kishori saluted Sri Ramakrishna and was about to take his leave. The Master blessed him, touching his chest tenderly, and bade him good-bye. His words were full of love. M.
  
  --
  
  M. and Gopal decided to spend the night with Sri Ramakrishna. They sat on the floor with a few other devotees.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had had no rest the whole day: the devotees had been with him all the time. He went out for a few minutes. Returning to the room he saw M. taking down a song from Ramlal.
  
  --
  
  A little later Sri Ramakrishna took his supper of farina pudding and one or two luchis. A lighted lamp stood on a stand by his side. M. sat near him. The Master asked if there were any sweets in the room. M. had brought some sandesh which he had put on the shelf. Sri Ramakrishna asked M. to give him a sweet. M. searched for the sweets but could not find them. He was embarrassed. They had been given to the devotees.
  
  After finishing his supper, Sri Ramakrishna sat on the small couch and M. seated himself on the foot-rug. The Master, talking about Narayan, was overcome with emotion.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was silent. After a few minutes he continued.
  
  --
  
  Again Sri Ramakrishna fell silent. A few minutes later he began to talk.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna then spoke about Tejchandra.
  
  --
  
  M. thought that Sri Ramakrishna wanted to go to his school to see Narayan. He said to the Master, "You might as well wait at our house."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was smoking. M. and Gopal finished their supper. They decided to sleep in the nahabat. M. again sat on the floor near Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  It was ten or eleven o'clock at night. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch, resting against a pillow. M. sat on the floor. The Master was conversing with him. A lamp burnt on a stand near the wall. The Master felt great compassion for his devotees. He wanted to bless M. by accepting his personal service.
  
  --
  
  M. seated himself on the small couch and took the Master's feet on his lap. He stroked them. Now and then Sri Ramakrishna would ask his disciple a question.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sat in silence a few minutes.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna laughed aloud.
  
  --
  
  After a while M. sat on the floor near the small couch. Sri Ramakrishna felt sleepy; he said to M.: "Go to sleep. Where is Gopal? Please shut the door."
  
  Next morning Sri Ramakrishna left his bed very early. As usual, he chanted the holy names of the different gods and goddesses. Now and then he looked at the sacred river.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna finished his bath and went with M. to the Kli temple. He asked the disciple to lock the door of his room.
  
  In the temple he took the seat in front of the image of Kli and offered flowers, sometimes at Her feet and sometimes on his own head. He fanned the Deity. Then he returned to his room and asked M. to unlock the door. Entering the room, he sat on the small couch. He was completely overwhelmed with divine fervour and began to chant the name of God. M. sat alone on the floor. Sri Ramakrishna began to sing about the Divine Mother:
  
  --
  
  Strangely enough, no sooner had the thought passed through M.'s mind than Sri Ramakrishna sang the song. A few minutes later he said to M., "What do you think of the present state of my mind?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sang to himself the following refrain of a song: Unless a man is simple, he cannot recognize God, the Simple One.
  
  --
  
  ADHAR, A GREAT DEVOTEE of Sri Ramakrishna, lived in Sobha bazar in the northern section of Calcutta. Almost every day, after finishing his hard work at the office and returning home in the late afternoon, he paid Sri Ramakrishna a visit. From his home in Calcutta he would go to Dakshineswar in a hired carriage. His sole delight was to visit the Master. But he would hear very little of what Sri Ramakrishna said; for, after saluting the Master and visiting the temples, he would lie down, at the Master's request, on a mat spread on the floor and would soon fall asleep. At nine or ten O'clock he would be awakened to return home. However, he considered himself blessed to be able to visit the God-man of Dakshineswar. At Adhar's request Sri Ramakrishna often visited his home.
  
  His visits were occasions for religious festivals. Devotees in large numbers would assemble, and Adhar would feed them sumptuously. One day, while Sri Ramakrishna was visiting his home, Adhar said to him: "Sir, you haven't come to our house for a long time. The rooms seemed gloomy; they had a musty smell. But today the whole house is cheerful; the sweetness of your presence fills the atmosphere. Today I called on God earnestly. I even shed tears while praying. "Is that so?" the Master said tenderly, casting a kindly glance on his disciple.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna arrived at Adhar's house with his attendants. Everyone was in a joyous mood. Adhar had arranged a rich feast. Many strangers were present. At Adhar's invitation, several other deputy magistrates had come; they wanted to watch the Master and judge his holiness. Among them was Bankim Chandra Chatterji, perhaps the greatest literary figure of Bengal during the later part of the nineteenth century. He was one of the creators of modern Bengali literature and wrote on social and religious subjects. Bankim was a product of the contact of India with England. He gave modern interpretations of the Hindu scriptures and advocated drastic social reforms.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had been talking happily with the devotees when Adhar introduced several of his personal friends to him.
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna finished these words, Bankim and his friends began to whisper in English.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna continued: "But like the swan are those who think of God, who pray day and night to get rid of their attachment to worldly things and their love for 'woman and gold', who do not enjoy anything except the nectar of the Lotus Feet of the Lord, and to whom worldly pleasures taste bitter. If you put a mixture of milk and water before the swan, it will leave the water and drink only the milk. And haven't you noticed the gait of a swan? It goes straight ahead in one direction. So it is with genuine devotees: they go toward God alone. They seek nothing else; they enjoy nothing else.
  
  --
  
  Trailokya of the Brahmo Samaj began to sing. Presently Sri Ramakrishna stood up and lost consciousness of the outer world. He became completely indrawn, absorbed in samdhi. The devotees stood around him in a circle. Pushing aside the crowd, Bankim came near the Master and began to watch him attentively. He had never seen anyone in samdhi.
  
  After a few minutes Sri Ramakrishna regained partial consciousness and began to dance in an ecstatic mood. It was a never-to-be-forgotten scene. Bankim and his Anglicized friends looked at him in amazement. Was this the God-intoxicated state? The devotees also watched him with wondering eyes.
  
  --
  
  All listened spellbound. Again Sri Ramakrishna began to talk.
  
  --
  
  Since Bankim had invited Sri Ramakrishna to visit his home, the Master a few days later sent Girish and M. to his Calcutta residence. At that time Bankim had a long discussion with these two devotees about the Master. He told them that he wanted to visit Sri Ramakrishna again. But his desire was not fulfilled.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna arrived at the Star Theatre on Beadon Street in Calcutta to see a play about the life of Prahlada. M., Baburam, Narayan, and other devotees were with him. The hall was brightly lighted. The play had not yet begun. The Master was seated in a box, talking with Girish.
  
  --
  
  The performance began. Prahlada was seen entering the schoolroom as a student. At the sight of him Sri Ramakrishna uttered once or twice the word "Prahlada" and went into samdhi.
  
  During another scene Sri Ramakrishna wept to see Prahlada under an elephant's feet. He cried when the boy was thrown into the fire.
  
  The scene changed. Lakshmi and Narayana were seen seated in Goloka. Narayana was worried about Prahlada. This scene, too, threw Sri Ramakrishna into an ecstatic mood.
  
  After the performance Girish conducted Sri Ramakrishna to his private room in the theatre. He said to the Master, "Would you care to see the farce, Vivaha Vibhrata [The Confusion of Marriage']?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sang in a tender voice, turning his eyes upward: Meditate on the Lord, the Slayer of hell's dire woes, He who removes the fear of death;
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna looked at Girish pensively.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna reflected a minute and said, "Give God your power of attorney. Let Him do whatever He likes."
  
  The conversation then turned to Sri Ramakrishna's young devotees.
  
  --
  
  Saying this, the Master exclaimed, "nandamayi!" and went into samdhi. He remained in that state a long time. Regaining partial consciousness, he said, "Where are those rascals?" M. brought Baburam to him. Sri Ramakrishna looked at Baburam and the other devotees and said, still in ecstasy.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was pleased with Girish's calm mood. He said to him, "This mood of yours is good; the calm mood is the best."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to Girish: "What have you done? This farce after the life of Prahlada! First sweets and rice pudding and then a dish of bitter herbs!"
  
  After the theatre, the actresses, following Girish's instructions, came to the room to salute Sri Ramakrishna. They bowed before him, touching the ground with their foreheads. The devotees noticed that some of the actresses, in saluting the Master, touched his feet. He said to them very tenderly, "Please don't do that, mother!"
  
  After the actresses had left the room, Sri Ramakrishna said to the devotees, "It is all He, only in different forms."
  
  The carriage was ready at the door. Girish and the others came to the street to see the Master off. As soon as Sri Ramakrishna stepped into the carriage, he went into deep samdhi. Narayan and several other devotees were with him. The carriage started for Dakshineswar.
  
  --
  
  Bankim was a school boy whom Sri Ramakrishna had met in Bagh bazar. Noticing him even from a distance, the Master had said that he was a fine boy.
  
  After a while Sri Ramakrishna went to the Panchavati with the devotees. They surrounded him, some sitting and some standing. He was seated on the cement platform around the tree, facing the southwest. He asked M. with a smile, "Have you brought the book?"
  
  --
  
  (To Sri Ramakrishna) "Now, sir, you can follow the story."
  
  --
  
  Nityagopal was seated in front of Sri Ramakrishna. He was always in ecstasy. He sat there in silence.
  
  --
  
  Kedr, who was a government official, had been living at Dcc for sometime. He had been transferred there from Calcutta. He was a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna and had gathered together at Dcc many devotees, who came to him regularly for spiritual instruction. As one should not come empty handed to a religious man, the devotees would bring Kedr sweets and other offerings.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna left the room and went toward the pine-grove. The devotees began to walk about in the garden. Several went to the Panchavati. Sri Ramakrishna met them there and said: "I have indigestion. I took a meal at the Mallicks'. They are very worldly people."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the northeast verandah outside his room at Dakshineswar. It was about eight o'clock in the morning. Many devotees, including Narendra, Rkhl, Girish, Baburam, and Surendra, were present. They were celebrating the Master's birthday, which had fallen on the previous Monday. M. arrived and saluted him. The Master signed to him to take a seat near him.
  
  Narottam was singing kirtan. Sri Ramakrishna was in partial ecstasy. The subject was Krishna's meeting with His cowherd friends in the meadow. Krishna had not yet arrived.
  
  --
  
  Suddenly Sri Ramakrishna's eyes fell on Narendra, who was sitting very near him. He stood up and went into samdhi; he stood there touching Narendra's knee with his foot.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna whispered to Baburam: "There is Kshir [sweet milk preparation] in the room. Give Narendra some."
  
  --
  
  After the kirtan Sri Ramakrishna returned to his room. Tenderly he began to feed Narendra with sweets. It was Girish's belief that God Himself had been born in the person of Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch. It was about eleven o'clock. Ram and the other devotees wanted to dress him in a new cloth. The Master said, "No, no."
  
  --
  
  As Narendra sang the line, "Who art Thou, Mother, seated alone in the shrine of samdhi?", Sri Ramakrishna went into deep samdhi and lost all outer consciousness.
  
  After a long time, when he was regaining partial consciousness, the devotees seated him on the carpet and placed a plate of food before him. Still overcome with divine emotion, he began to eat the rice with both hands. He said to Bhavanth, "Feed me." Because of his ecstatic mood he could not use his own right hand. Bhavanth began to feed him Sri Ramakrishna could eat very little. Rm said to him, "Nityagopl will eat from your plate."
  
  --
  
  Some devotees from Konnagar arrived by boat. They entered Sri Ramakrishna's room singing kirtan; afterwards they went out to take some refreshments. Narottam was in the room. The Master said to him and the other devotees: "The music of the Konnagar devotees was dull. Music should be so lively as to make everyone dance. One should sing a song like this:
  
  --
  
  The devotees were taking the prasad. It was a sumptuous feast. Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "Haven't you invited the Mukherjis? Ask Surendra to feed the musicians."
  
  Bepin Sarkar arrived. The devotees introduced him to the Master. Sri Ramakrishna sat up and said to the devotees, "Give him a seat and some betel-leaf." He said to Bepin humbly: "I am sorry not to be able to talk to you. There is a great crowd today."
  
  Pointing to Girindra, Sri Ramakrishna said to Baburam, "Give him a carpet." Nityagopal was sitting on the floor. The Master asked a devotee to give him a carpet too.
  
  --
  
  Narendra was going to sing again. Sri Ramakrishna asked M. to take down the Tnpura from the wall. Narendra was a long time tuning it. The Master and the devotees became impatient. Binode said, "He will tune it today and sing another day." (Laughter.) Sri Ramakrishna laughed. He said: "I feel like breaking the Tnpura to pieces! What is this? Only 'Tong-tong'! Then he will practise: 'Tana-nana -nere-num'!"
  
  --
  
  Narendra began to sing. Sri Ramakrishna was seated on the small couch. Nityagopal and the other devotees were on the floor.
  
  --
  
  In an ecstatic mood Sri Ramakrishna came down and sat by Narendra's side. He began to talk, still in ecstasy.
  
  --
  
  Narendra was seated near the Master. He was constantly worried about his financial difficulties at home. He was now twenty-three years old. Sri Ramakrishna looked at him intently.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna went back to his small couch. The devotees were seated on the floor.
  
  --
  
  The devotees listened with great attention to Sri Ramakrishna's words.
  
  --
  
  It was about dusk. Many of the devotees saluted Sri Ramakrishna and started to go home. The Master went to the west porch. Bhavanth and M. were with him.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sat on the small couch in his room absorbed in contemplation of the Divine Mother.
  
  --
  
  Narendra had left. Sri Ramakrishna was pacing the verandah northeast of his room. M.
  
  --
  
  Girish Ghosh came and stood by Sri Ramakrishna, who had started to sing:
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was filled with divine fervour. Standing with one arm resting on Girish's body he sang:
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna looked at Girish, his ecstatic fervour became more intense.
  
  --
  
  Intoxicated with God, Sri Ramakrishna repeated the lines:
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna spoke highly of Nityagopal's ecstasy.
  
  
  Three or four devotees stood near Sri Ramakrishna on the verandah and listened to his words about the exalted state of the paramahamsa. The Master said: "A Paramahamsa is always conscious that God alone is real and all else illusory. Only the swan has the power to separate milk from a mixture of milk and water. The swan's tongue secretes an acid that separates the milk from the mixture. The paramahamsa also possesses such a juice; it is his ecstatic love for God. That separates the Real from the mixture of the Real and the unreal. Through it one becomes aware of God and sees Him."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was at the house of Girish Ghosh in Bosepara Lane, Calcutta. It was about three o'clock when M. arrived and prostrated himself before him. The Master was going to see a play at the Star Theatre. He was talking with the devotees about the Knowledge of Brahman.
  
  --
  
  Saying this, Sri Ramakrishna sang, intoxicated with divine fervour: Can everyone have the vision of Syama? Is Kli's treasure for everyone?
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna remained in ecstasy a few moments. Girish and the other devotees were seated before him. A few days earlier Girish had been very rude to the Master at the Star Theatre; but now he was in a calm state of mind.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was still in an indrawn mood; he seemed to be gradually forgetting the men and the objects around him. He tried to bring his mind down to the relative world.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was still in the God-intoxicated mood. There was a glass of water near him. He drank the water. He said to himself, "Why, I have drunk water in this mood!"
  
  It was not yet dusk. Sri Ramakrishna was talking to Atul, who was seated in front of him. Atul was Girish's brother and a lawyer of the High Court of Calcutta. A brahmin neighbour was also seated near him.
  
  --
  
  All sat in silence, pondering Sri Ramakrishna's words.
  
  --
  
  It was dusk. The lamp was lighted in the room. Sri Ramakrishna chanted the divine names. He was singing and praying. He said, "Chant the name of Hari, repeat the name of Hari, sing the name of Hari." Again he said, "Rma! Rma! Rma!" Then: "O Mother!
  
  --
  
  Finding Girish restless, Sri Ramakrishna remained silent a moment. He asked Tejchandra to sit near him. The boy sat near the Master. He whispered to M. that he would have to leave soon.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna arrived at the Star Theatre, on Beadon Street, to see a performance of Vrishaketu He sat in a box, facing the south. M. and other devotees were near him.
  
  --
  
  The performance began. Karna and his wife Padmavati sacrificed their son to please God, who had come to them in the guise of a brahmin to test Karna's charity. During this scene one of the devotees gave a suppressed sigh. Sri Ramakrishna also expressed his sorrow.
  
  After the play Sri Ramakrishna went to the recreation room of the theatre. Girish and Narendra were already there. The Master stood near Narendra and said, "I have come."
  
  Sri Ramakrishna took a seat. The orchestra was playing in the auditorium.
  
  --
  
  The orchestra stopped playing and Sri Ramakrishna began the conversation.
  
  --
  
  As Narendra sang the words, "Then once more in the Great Communion all are merged", Sri Ramakrishna said to him, "One realizes this after attaining the Knowledge of Brahman; then all is vidy, Brahman, as you said." As Narendra sang the line, "Dance in delight with hands upraised, chanting Lord Hari's holy name", the Master said to him, "Sing that line twice."
  
  After the song Sri Ramakrishna resumed the conversation.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna took some refreshments and handed some to Narendra.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna loved Jatin dearly. Jatin visited the Master now and then at Dakshineswar and occasionally spent the night there. He belonged to an aristocratic family of Sobhabazar. The Master said laughingly to Narendra, "He is talking about you."
  
  Sri Ramakrishna laughed and showed his affection to Jatin by touching his chin. He said to Jatin, "Come to Dakshineswar; I'll give you plenty to eat."
  
  --
  
  Girish had lately been speaking of Sri Ramakrishna as an Incarnation of God.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was ready to leave for Dakshineswar. He had remarked to a devotee about Girish, "You may wash a thousand times a cup that has held a solution of garlic; but is it ever possible to get rid of the smell altogether?" Girish was offended by this remark. When the Master was about to leave, Girish spoke.
  
  --
  
  Girish had been visiting Sri Ramakrishna for some months. The Master said that none could fathom the depth of Girish's faith. And his longing for God was as intense as his faith was deep. At home, he was always absorbed in the thought of Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  Many of the Master's devotees visited him; they talked only about Sri Ramakrishna. But Girish was a householder who had had varied experiences of worldly life, and the Master knew that Narendra would renounce the world, that he would shun "woman and gold"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna seemed to be afraid lest Narendra should leave him. Narendra looked at the Master with tears in his eyes.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna walked across the courtyard and entered the temple of Radhakanta. He bowed down before the images, M. following him. There was some red powder in a tray.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna returned to his room accompanied by M. and another devotee carrying the tray of red powder. He offered a little of it to all the pictures of gods and goddesses in his room, but not to those of Jesus Christ and himself. Then he threw the powder on the bodies of Narendra and the other devotees. They all took the dust of his feet.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna referred to the hymns chanted by Mahima.
  
  --
  
  Later Sri Ramakrishna went out in the direction of the Panchavati. He asked M. about Binode, a student in M.'s school, who now and then experienced ecstasy while thinking of God. The Master loved him dearly. As he was returning to his room with M., he asked: "Well, some speak of me as an Incarnation of God. What do you think about it?" The Master came back to his room and sat on the small couch. He repeated the question to M. The other devotees were seated at a distance and could not follow the conversation.
  
  --
  
  At three o'clack in the afternoon Sri Ramakrishna was in his room at Dakshineswar conversing happily with his devotees. Baburam, the younger Naren, Paltu, Haripada, Mohinimohan, and others were present. A young brahmin who had been staying with the Master a few days was also there.The Holy Mother, Sri Ramakrishna's wife, was living in the nahabat. Occasianally she would come to Sri Ramakrishna's room to attend to his needs. Mohinimohan had braught his wife and Nabin's mother with him to the temple garden from Calcutta. The ladies were with the Holy Mother; they were waiting far an opportunity to visit the Master when the men devotees would leave the room.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch. As he looked at the young devotees his face beamed with joy.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna began to talk about Narendra.
  
  --
  
  MASTER: "What does he say in reply to Girish?" [Girish Ghosh spoke of Sri Ramakrishna as an Incarnation of God.]
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna came down from the small couch and sat among the youngsters on the floor. M. sat by his side.
  
  --
  
  Mohinimohan had brought a basket of sweetmeats for Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna touched the sweets, uttering the word "Om", and ate a little. Then he distributed them among the devotees. To the surprise of the others, he fed the younger Naren and a few of the boys with his own hand.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was in the happiest mood with his young and pure-souled devotees. He was seated on the small couch and was doing funny imitations of a kirtani. The devotees laughed heartily. The kirtani is dressed lavishly and covered with ornaments. She sings standing on the floor, a coloured kerchief in her hand. Now and then she coughs to draw people's attention and blows her nose, raising her nose-ring. When a respectable gentleman enters the room she welcomes him with appropriate words, still continuing her song. Now and then she pulls her sari from her arms to show off her jewels.
  
  The devotees were convulsed, with laughter at this mimicry by Sri Ramakrishna. Paltu rolled on the ground. Pointing to him, the Master said to M.: "Look at that child! He is rolling with laughter." He said to Paltu with a smile: "Don't report this to your father, or he will lose the little respect he has for me. You see, he is an 'Englishman."
  
  --
  
  The devotees silently watched the figure of Sri Ramakrishna motionless in samdhi. A few minutes before there had been so much laughter in the room; now there was deep silence, as if no one were there. The Master sat with folded hands as in his photograph.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was still in the ecstatic mood. He spoke tenderly to the other devotees about their future.
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna spoke these words he looked at Mohini affectionately, as if scanning his inmost feelings. Was Mohini really wondering whether it would, be wise to renounce all for God? After a while Sri Ramakrishna said, "God binds the Bhagavata pundit to the world with one tie; otherwise, who would remain to explain the sacred book? He keeps the pundit bound for the good of men. That is why the Divine Mother has kept you in the world."
  
  Now Sri Ramakrishna spoke to the young brahmin.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sat with the devotees on the mat on the floor. He was smiling. He said to the devotees, "Please stroke my feet gently." They carried out his request. He said to M., "There is great significance in this." Placing his hand on his heart, the Master said, "If there is anything here, then through this service the ignorance and illusion of the devotees will be completely destroyed."
  
  Suddenly Sri Ramakrishna became serious, as if about to reveal a secret.
  
  --
  
  The devotees listened to these words in amazement. Some wondered whether God Himself was seated before them in the form of Sri Ramakrishna. The Master paused a moment. Then he said, addressing M., "I saw that it is the fullest manifestation of Satchidananda; but this time the Divine Power is manifested through the glory of sattva."
  
  --
  
  At five o'clock the younger Naren was ready to go home. Sri Ramakrishna stood by his side on the northeast verandah and gave him various instructions. Then the boy saluted the Master and departed. Many of the devotees also took their leave.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch talking to Mohini. Mohini's wife was almost mad with grief on account of her son's death. Sometimes she laughed and sometimes she wept. But she felt peaceful in Sri Ramakrishna's presence.
  
  --
  
  When Sri Ramakrishna heard this he appeared worried. Mohini said to him humbly, "Please give her a few words of advice."
  
  --
  
  It was dusk. Preparations were going on in the temples for the evening worship. The lamp was lighted in the Master's room and incense was burnt. Seated on the small couch, Sri Ramakrishna saluted the Divine Mother and chanted Her name in a tender voice. There was nobody in the room except M, who was sitting on the floor.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna rose from the couch. M also stood up. The Master asked him to shut the west and north doors of the room. M obeyed and stood by Sri Ramakrishna on the porch.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna entered his room and sat on the small couch. He had been passing through an extraordinary state of mind: he could not touch any metal. He had said a few days before, "It seems that the Divine Mother has been removing from my mind all ideas of possession." He had been eating from plantain-leaves and drinking water from an earthen tumbler. He could not touch a metal jar; so he had asked the devotees to get a few earthen jars for him. If he touched metal plates or pots, his hand ached as if stung by a horned fish.
  
  --
  
  Trak of Belgharia arrived with a friend and bowed low before Sri Ramakrishna, who was sitting on the small couch. The room was lighted by an oil lamp. A few devotees were sitting on the floor.
  
  Trak was about twenty years old, and married. His parents did not allow him to come to Sri Ramakrishna. He lived mostly at his home near Bowbazar. The Master was very fond of him. Trak's friend had a tamasic nature; he rather scoffed at the Master and religious ideas in general.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna asked about Tatak's health and talked with him at length. Trak was ready to leave. Sri Ramakrishna asked him to be careful about many things.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna took Trak's hand into his own and seemed to feel its weight. A few moments later he said: "There is a little crookedness in your mind; but that will go. Pray to God a little and come here now and then. Yes, that twist will go. Is it you that have hired the house at Bowbazar?"
  
  --
  
  Trak saluted Sri Ramakrishna and took his leave. The Master lay down on the small couch. He seemed worried about Trak. Suddenly he said to M., "Why do I worry so much about these young boys?" M. kept still. He was thinking over a reply. The Master asked him, "Why don't you speak?"
  
  Mohini's wife entered the room and sat at one side. Sri Ramakrishna spoke to M. about Trak's friend.
  
  --
  
  The Master suddenly addressed Mohini's wife and said: "By unnatural death one becomes an evil spirit. Beware. Make it clear to your mind. Is this what you have come to after hearing and seeing so much?" Mohini was about to take his leave. He saluted Sri Ramakrishna. His wife also saluted the Master, who stood near the north door of the room. Mohini's wife spoke to him in a whisper.
  
  --
  
  ON THE MORNING of Wednesday, March 11, Sri Ramakrishna and some of his disciples visited Balarm Bose's house. Balarm was indeed blessed among the householder disciples of the Master. Sri Ramakrishna often described him as a rasaddar, or supplier of stores, appointed by the Divine Mother to take care of his physical needs. Balarm's house in Calcutta had been sanctified many times by the Master's presence. There he frequently lost himself in samdhi, dancing, singing, or talking about God. Those of the Master's disciples and devotees who could not go to Dakshineswar visited him there and received his instruction. He often asked Balarm to invite young disciples such as Rkhl, Bhavanth, and Narendra to his house, saying: "These pure souls are veritable manifestations of God. To feed them is to feed God Himself. They are born with special divine attributes. By serving them you will be serving God." And so it happened that whenever the Master was at Balarm's house the devotees would gather there. It was the Master's chief vineyard in Calcutta. It was here that the devotees came to know each other intimately.
  
  M taught in a school in the neighbourhood. He often brought his young students to visit the Master at Balarm's house. On this day, having learnt of Sri Ramakrishna's arrival, M. went there at noon during the recess hour of the school. He found the Master resting in the drawing room after his midday meal. Several young boys were in the room. M
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "Can you tell me why I have been feeling like this the past few days? It is impossible for me to touch any metal. When I touched a metal cup I felt as if I had been stung by a horned fish. There was an excruciating pain all over my arm.
  
  --
  
  At Sri Ramakrishna's request Tarapada sang two more songs. In the first, Nitai exhorts people to share Radha's love for Sri Krishna:
  
  --
  
  M. looked at Girish, and marvelled at his tremendous faith. Girish had been coming to Sri Ramakrishna only a short time and had already recognized his spiritual power. To M. he seemed a familiar friend and kinsman, related to him by the strong bond of spirituality.
  
  --
  
  Narayan asked the Master whether he would sing. Sri Ramakrishna sang of the Divine Mother:
  
  --
  
  The devotees listened to the songs in deep silence. After a few moments Sri Ramakrishna said, "I have a slight cold; so I couldn't sing well."
  
  --
  
  The devotees seated in the room looked at Sri Ramakrishna as he began to chant the sweet name of the Divine Mother. After the chanting he began to pray. What was the need of prayer to a soul in constant communion with God? Did he not rather want to teach erring mortals how to pray? Addressing the Divine Mother, he said, "O Mother, I throw myself on Thy mercy; I take shelter at Thy Hallowed Feet. I do not want bodily comforts; I do not crave name and fame; I do not seek the eight occult powers. Be gracious and grant that I may have pure love for Thee, a love unsmitten by desire, untainted by any selfish ends-a love craved by the devotee for the sake of love alone.
  
  --
  
  Since Balarm had prepared supper for him, Sri Ramakrishna said to Balarm: "Please send the food you have prepared for me to Girish's, I shall enjoy it there." He did not want to hurt Balarm's feelings.
  
  --
  
  Girish stood at the door to welcome the Master. As Sri Ramakrishna entered the house, Girish fell at his feet and lay there on the floor like a rod. At the Master's bidding he stood up, touching the Master's feet with his forehead. Sri Ramakrishna was taken to the drawing-room on the second floor. The devotees followed him and sat down, eager to get a view of the Master and listen to every word that fell from his lips.
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna was about to take the seat reserved for him, he saw a newspaper lying near it. He signed to someone to remove the paper. Since a newspaper contains worldly matters-gossip and scandal-, he regarded it as unholy. After the paper was removed he took his seat. Nityagopal came forward and bowed low before the Master.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna (tenderly): "I quite agree with Narendra. God is everywhere. But then you must remember that there are different manifestations of His Power in different beings. At some places there is a manifestation of His avidyaakti, at others a manifestation of His vidyaakti. Through different instruments God's Power is manifest in different degrees, greater and smaller. Therefore all men are not equal."
  
  --
  
  The discussion came to a close. Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "I have observed that a man acquires one kind of knowledge about God through reasoning and another kind through meditation; but he acquires a third kind of Knowledge about God when God reveals Himself to him, His devotee. If God Himself reveals to His devotee the nature of Divine Incarnation-how He plays in human form-, then the devotee doesn't have to, reason about the problem or need an explanation. Do you know what it is like? Suppose a man is in a dark room. He goes on rubbing a match against a match-box and all of a sudden light comes. Likewise, if God gives us this flash of divine light, all our doubts are destroyed. Can one ever know God by mere reasoning?"
  
  Sri Ramakrishna asked Narendra to sit by his side. He tenderly inquired about his health and showed him much affection.
  
  --
  
  Narendra said in a whisper, "Just a moment ago he [meaning Girish] was calling him [meaning Sri Ramakrishna] God, an Incarnation, and now he is attracted to the theatre!"
  
  --
  
  Narendra was sitting beside the Master. The latter looked at him intently and suddenly moved closer to his beloved disciple. Narendra did not believe in God's assuming a human body; but what did that matter? Sri Ramakrishna's heart overflowed with more and more love for his disciple. He touched Narendra's body and said, quoting from a song:
  
  --
  
  Listening to the song, Sri Ramakrishna again went into deep samdhi. His eyes were closed and his body was transfixed.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sat in the drawing-room of Balarm's house talking to M. It was a very hot day and long past three o'clock. He had come to Calcutta to see some of his young disciples and also to visit Devendra's house.
  
  --
  
  The devotees were fanning Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was resting, reclining against a bolster. M had brought with him a twelve year-old boy who was a student in his school. His name was Kshirode.
  
  --
  
  The boy saluted Sri Ramakrishna, touching his feet. Then he gently stroked the Master's feet.
  
  --
  
  Paltu and Binode were seated in front of Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  M: "No, sir, he should not go too far." (Sri Ramakrishna laughs.) MASTER (to Binode): "How are you? Why haven't you come to Dakshineswar?"
  
  --
  
  The younger Naren entered the room. Sri Ramakrishna was going out to wash his hands and face. The younger Naren followed him with a towel; he wanted to pour water for the Master. M was with them.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna returned to the drawing-room and took his seat.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was on his way in a carriage to Devendra's house in Nimu Goswami's Lane. The younger Naren, M, and one or two other devotees were with him. The Master felt great yearning for Purna. He began to talk of the young disciple.
  
  --
  
  The carriage proceeded to Devendra's house. Once Sri Ramakrishna had said to Devendra at Dakshineswar, "I have been thinking of visiting your house one day."
  
  Devendra had replied: "The same idea came to my mind today, and I have come here to ask that favour of you. You must grace my house this Sunday." "But", the Master had said, you have a small income. Don't invite many people. The carriage hire will also run to a big amount." Devendra had answered, laughing: "What if my income is small? 'One can run into debt to eat butter!' "At these words Sri Ramakrishna had laughed a long time.
  
  Soon the carriage reached Devendra's house. Sri Ramakrishna said to him: "Devendra, don't make elaborate arrangements for my meal. Something very simple will do. I am not very well today."
  
  Sri Ramakrishna seated himself in the drawing-room on the ground floor of Devendra's house. The devotees sat around him. It was evening. The room was well lighted. The younger Naren, Ram, M., Girish, Devendra, Akshay, Upendra, and some other devotees were present. As the Master cast his glance on a young devotee, his face beamed with joy. Pointing to the devotee, Sri Ramakrishna said to the others: "He is totally free from attachment to land, wife, and money, the three things that entangle one in worldliness.
  
  --
  
  ai had recently been visiting Sri Ramakrishna. He was studying at the Vidysgar College for his Bachelor's degree. The Master began to talk about him.
  
  --
  
  At these words all the devotees laughed. The younger Naren laughed very loudly. Sri Ramakrishna noticed that he had quickly understood the implication of these words.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna went into ecstasy when he heard the song. The musician sang again, describing the suffering of a milkmaid of Vrindvan at her separation from Sri Krishna.
  
  --
  
  Now and then Sri Ramakrishna sang with the musicians, improvising Lines: How far from here is Mathura,
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna went into samdhi. His body was motionless. He remained in that state a long time.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna remained silent a few moments. Suddenly he said in a slightly raised voice: "I have come from Dakshineswar. I am going, Mother!" It was as if a child had heard the call of its mother from a distance and was responding to it. He again became motionless, absorbed in samdhi. The devotees looked at him with unwinking eyes. Still in an ecstatic mood he said, "I shall not eat any more luchi." At this point a few Vaishnava priests, who had come from the neighbourhood, left the place.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna began to talk with his devotees in a very joyous spirit. It was the month of April and the day was very sultry. Devendra had made ice-cream. He offered it to the Master and the devotees. M said in a low voice, "Encore! Encore!" The devotees laughed.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was happy as a child.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna inquired about Surendra.
  
  --
  
  Devendra took Sri Ramakrishna into the inner apartments and offered him refreshments.
  
  --
  
  Girish saluted the Master and took his leave. Devendra and the other devotees took the Master to his carriage. Seeing that one of his neighbours was sound asleep on a bench in the courtyard, Devendra woke him up. The neighbour rubbed his eyes and said, "Has the Paramahamsa come?" All burst into laughter. The man had come a long time before Sri Ramakrishna's arrival, and because of the heat had spread a mat on the bench, lain down, and gone sound asleep.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna's carriage proceeded to Dakshineswar. He said to M. happily, "I have eaten a good deal of ice-cream; bring four or five cones for me when you come to Dakshineswar." Continuing, he said, "Now my mind is drawn to these few youngsters: the younger Naren, Purna, and your brother-in-law."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting with the devotees in Balarm's drawing room in Calcutta.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was describing to the devotees the various incidents of his sdhan and the phases of his spiritual realization.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna became silent. Resuming his reminiscences, he said: "How many other visions I saw! But I am not permitted to tell them. Someone is shutting my mouth, as it were. I used to find no distinction between the sacred tulsi and the insignificant sajina leaf. The feeling of distinction was entirely destroyed. Once I was meditating under the banyan when I was shown a Musslman with a long beard. He came to me with rice in an earthen plate. He fed some other Musslmans with the rice and also gave me a few grains to eat. The Mother showed me that there exists only One, and not two. It is Satchidananda alone that has taken all these various forms; He alone has become the world and its living beings. Again, it is He who has become food.
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna uttered these words, he was on the point of plunging into samdhi and losing consciousness of time and space. But he was trying with the utmost difficulty to control himself. He said to the devotees in an ecstatic mood: "I still see you. But I feel as if you had been sitting here forever. I don't recall when you came or where you are."
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was silent a few minutes. Then, regaining partial consciousness, he said, "I shall have a drink of water." He often said things like this after samdhi, in order to bring down his mind to the ordinary plane of consciousness. Girish was a newcomer and did not know this; so he started to bring some water. Sri Ramakrishna asked him not to, saying, "No, my dear sir, I cannot drink now."
  
  The Master and the devotees were silent a while. Sri Ramakrishna resumed the conversation.
  
  --
  
  Was Sri Ramakrishna hinting that Purna was perhaps the last devotee of his inner circle?
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna then described to Girish, M., and the other devotees his own experience of mahabhava.
  
  --
  
  Referring to Lalit Babu, Sri Ramakrishna said: "Is it an easy matter to get rid of pride?
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna uttered these words, he was about to go into ecstasy.
  
  --
  
  Besides their country home at Kedeti, they had a house at Baghbazar, Calcutta. A young devotee named Hari accompanied them on their visits to Sri Ramakrishna. Hari was married but greatly devoted to the Master. Mahendra and Hari had not visited Dakshineswar for a long time. They saluted Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  MASTER (to the devotees): "He looks thin. He has no small measure of bhakti. He is overflowing with it, but it is of a rather troublesome nature." (Laughter.) Sri Ramakrishna used to address a certain devotee's wife by the name of "Habi's mother". Her brother, a college student aged about twenty, was there. He stood up, ready to go and play cricket. His younger brother, named Dwija, was also a devotee of the Master. Both brothers left the room. A few minutes later Dwija returned. The Master said, "Why didn't you go?" A devotee answered: "He wants to hear the music. Perhaps that is why he has come back."
  
  --
  
  Purna, another young devotee, also arrived. It was with great difficulty that Sri Ramakrishna had managed to have him come. His relatives strongly objected to his visiting the Master. Purna was a student in the fifth grade of the school where M. taught.
  
  The boy prostrated himself before Sri Ramakrishna. The Master seated him by his side and was talking to him in a low voice. M. alone was sitting near them. The other devotees were talking about various things. Girish, sitting on the other side of the room, was reading a life of Keshab.
  
  --
  
  A few minutes later Sri Ramakrishna said to the boy, "Won't you come there?" He meant Dakshineswar. "I can't promise", answered the boy.
  
  --
  
  PURNA: "Yes, sir. But it won't be very convenient for me to go." Girish was reading a life of Keshab written by Trailokya of the Brahmo Samaj. In it Trailokya said that at first Sri Ramakrishna had been very much opposed to the world but that after meeting Keshab he had changed his mind and had come to believe that, one could lead a spiritual life in the world as well. Several devotees had told the Master about this. They wanted to discuss it with Trailokya. Those passages in the book had been read to the Master.
  
  Noticing the book in Girish's hand, Sri Ramakrishna said to Girish, M., Ram, and the other devotees: "Those people are busy with the world. That is why they set such a high value on worldly life. They are drowned in 'woman and gold'. One doesn't talk that way after realizing God. After enjoying divine bliss, one looks on the world as crow-droppings. At the very outset I utterly renounced everything. Not only did I renounce the company of worldly people, but now and then the company of devotees as well. I noticed that the devotees were dropping dead one by one, and that made my heart writhe with pain. But now I keep one or two of them with me."
  
  --
  
  They bowed before the Master and sat down. He inquired about their health. The younger Naren entered the room and saluted Sri Ramakrishna. The Master said to him, "Why didn't you see me last Saturday?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna left the room for a minute. The women devotees were seated near the screen. They were eager to see Sri Ramakrishna. Trailokya went on with his music.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna entered the room again and said to Trailokya, "Please sing a little about the Blissful Mother."
  
  --
  
  Listening to the song, the younger Naren went into deep meditation. He remained as still as a log. Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "Look at him. He is totally unaware of the outer world."
  
  The song was over. At Sri Ramakrishna's request, Trailokya sang: O Mother, make me mad with Thy love!
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna, too, asked him to sing the song. Trailokya and the devotees sang it in chorus, the Master joining them. When it was over, the Master sang: Behold, the two brothers have come, who weep while chanting Hari's name,
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sang again:
  
  --
  
  Girish arrived. Sri Ramakrishna introduced him to Trailokya. He asked them to talk to each other. A few minutes later the Master said, "That song again, please."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna went into samdhi. He stood up, totally unconscious of the world.
  
  --
  
  The music was over. It was about dusk. Sri Ramakrishna was surrounded by the devotees.
  
  --
  
  As evening came on, lamps were lighted in the drawing-room and on the verandah. Sri Ramakrishna bowed to the Divine Mother and began to chant the name of God. The devotees sat around and listened to his sweet chanting. They wanted to discuss with Trailokya his remarks about the Master's change of opinion on worldly life. Girish started the discussion.
  
  GIRISH (to Trailokya): "You have written that, after coming in contact with Keshab, Sri Ramakrishna changed his views about worldly life; but it isn't true."
  
  --
  
  TRAILOKYA: "Why so? Doesn't he [meaning Sri Ramakrishna] admit that a man can lead a spiritual life in the world?"
  
  --
  
  Once, in Puri, Advaita and the other devotees sang a song to the effect that Chaitanya was God. At this Chaitanya shut the door of his room. Infinite are the glories of God. As he [meaning Sri Ramakrishna] says, the devotee is the parlour of God. Suppose a parlour is very well furnished; does that mean that the master of the house has exhausted all his power and splendour in that one parlour?"
  
  GIRISH: "He [meaning Sri Ramakrishna] says that prema alone is the essence of God; we need the man through whom this ecstatic love of God flows. He says that the milk of the cow flows through the udder; we need the udder; we do not care for the other parts of the cow-the legs, tail, or horns."
  
  --
  
  After the discussion Sri Ramakrishna became engaged in pleasant conversation with Trailokya.
  
  --
  
  It was about nine o'clock in the evening. Balarm took Trailokya to another room and gave him refreshments. Sri Ramakrishna began to tell the devotees about Trailokya and people of his views.
  

2.40_-_2.49_-_THE_MASTER_AT_THE_HOUSES_OF_BALARM_AND_GIRISH, #Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, #Sri Ramakrishna, #Hinduism
  
  began to fan the Master gently. A few minutes later Sri Ramakrishna woke up and sat on the bed with his clothes in a rather untidy condition. M saluted him and took the dust of his feet.
  
  --
  
  While Sri Ramakrishna was talking, his mouth became dry. He said to M., like a child: "I feel a dryness in my mouth. Do you all feel that way?"
  
  --
  
  Jogindra of Ariadaha was an intimate disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, and later, after the passing away of the Master, renounced the world. Sri Ramakrishna's clothes were still untidy. Some of the devotees smiled.
  
  --
  
  M taught in a school in the neighbourhood. He had a little recess at one o'clock, during which he visited Sri Ramakrishna. It was time for him to go back to the school. He saluted the Master.
  
  --
  
  M.'s school closed at four o'clock. He came back to Balarm's house and found the Master sitting in the drawing room. The devotees were arriving one by one. The younger Naren and Ram came. Narendra, too, was there. M saluted the Master and took a seat, The ladies sent a plate of halua for Sri Ramakrishna. Because of the sore in his throat he could not eat any hard food.
  
  --
  
  Dusk was coming on. Sri Ramakrishna was about to go to the house of Girish, who had arranged a festival to celebrate the Master's coming. The Master came down from the second floor of Balarm's house with M. and a few other devotees. Near the gate he saw a beggar chanting the name of Rma, and he stood still. He fell into a meditative mood and remained standing a few minutes. He said to M., "He sings well" A devotee gave the beggar four pice.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna entered Bosepara Lane. Laughing, he said to M.: "What are these people saying? 'There comes Paramahamsa's battalion!' What these fools say!" (All laugh.)
  
  Sri Ramakrishna entered Girish's house. The latter had invited a large number of devotees to join the festival. Many of them were present. They all stood up to receive the Master, who, smiling, took his seat. The devotees sat around him. Among them were Girish, Mahimacharan, Ram, and Bhavanth, and also Baburam, Narendra, Jogin, the younger Naren, Chuni, Balarm, M., and the other devotees who had accompanied the Master from Balarm's house.
  
  --
  
  MAHIMA (to Girish): "Yes, sir, both views are right. God has willed the path of knowledge. He has also willed the path of bhakti. (Pointing to Sri Ramakrishna) As he says, by different paths people ultimately reach one and the same goal."
  
  --
  
  The musician arrived with his party and sat in the middle of the room. He was waiting for a sign from Sri Ramakrishna to begin the kirtan. The master gave his permission.
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna heard the line, "Ah, the blessed name of Krishna, full of honeyed sweetness!", he could not remain seated any longer. He stood up in a state of unconsciousness and went into deep samdhi. The younger Naren stood at his right.
  
  --
  
  Now Sri Ramakrishna with Narendra and the other devotees began to sing the kirtan in a loud voice. They sang:
  
  --
  
  Again Sri Ramakrishna went into samdhi. After regaining consciousness of the outer world, he returned to his seat. Turning to M., he said, "I don't remember which way I was facing before." Then he began to talk to the devotees.
  
  --
  
  Girish conducted Sri Ramakrishna and the devotees to the roof, where the meal was served. There was a bright moon in the sky. The devotees took their seats. The Master occupied a seat in front of them. All were in a joyous mood.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was beside himself with joy at the sight of Narendra. The beloved disciple sat in the front row. Every now and then the Master asked how he was 'getting along. He had hardly finished half his meal when he came to Narendra with some water-melon sherbet and curd from his own plate. Tenderly he said to the disciple, "Please eat this." Then he went back to his own place.
  
  --
  
  It was about three o'clock in the afternoon. Sri Ramakrishna sat in Balarm's drawing-room in a happy mood. Many devotees were present. Narendra, M., Bhavanth, Purna, Paltu, the younger Naren, Girish, Ram, Binode, Dwija, and others sat around him.
  
  Balarm was not there. He had gone to Monghyr for a change of air. His eldest daughter had invited Sri Ramakrishna and the devotees and celebrated the occasion with a feast.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was amazed at these words of Narendra.
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna heard the words, "Infinite is the universe; infinite are the Incarnations", he said with folded hands, "Ah!"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna smiled a little, looked at M., and made a sign with his eye, as if to say, "What he says is right."
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna heard this soul-enthralling song, he went into samdhi. Narendra again sang:
  
  --
  
  In an ecstatic mood Sri Ramakrishna talked to the Divine Mother. He said: "I shall take my meal now. Art Thou come? Hast Thou found Thy lodging and left Thy baggage there and then come out?" He continued: "I don't enjoy anybody's company now. Why should I listen to the music, Mother? That diverts part of my mind to the outside world."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was in a spiritual mood. The devotees sat around him.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in the drawing-room on the ground floor of Ram's house.
  
  --
  
  MASTER: "Kishori. Isn't Girish Ghosh coming? What about Narendra?" A few minutes later Narendra arrived and saluted Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  Ram had arranged the kirtan. With folded hands the musician said to Sri Ramakrishna, "Sir, I can begin if you give the order."
  
  --
  
  The musician started the kirtan. As Sri Ramakrishna heard the sound of the drum he went into an ecstatic mood. While listening to the prelude of the kirtan he plunged into deep samdhi. He placed his legs on the lap of Nityagopal, who was sitting near him.
  
  --
  
  Regaining partial consciousness, Sri Ramakrishna said: "From the Nitya to the Lila and from the Lila to the Nitya. (To Nityagopal) What is your ideal?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna closed his eyes and said: "Is it only this? Does God exist only when the eyes are closed, and cease to exist when the eyes are opened? The Lila belongs to Him to whom the Nitya belongs, and the Nitya belongs to Him to whom the Lila belongs. (To Mahima) My dear sir, let me tell you-"
  
  --
  
  The devotees listened silently to the Master. Sri Ramakrishna asked Mahima, laughing, "What is the thing you enjoy most?"
  
  --
  
  A Theosophist gentleman arrived with Aswini Kumar Dutta and the son of Behari Bhaduri. The Mukherji brothers entered the room and saluted Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  Bhavanth introduced Aswini to the Master. The Master introduced him to M. Aswini and M. were talking together when Narendra arrived. Sri Ramakrishna said to Aswini, "this is Narendra."
  
  --
  
  About three o'clock in the afternoon Sri Ramakrishna was resting in his room after the midday meal. A pundit was sitting on a mat on the floor. Near the north door of the room stood a brahmin woman who had recently lost her only daughter and was stricken with grief. Kishori, too, was in the room. M. arrived and saluted the Master. He was accompanied by Dwija and a few other devotees.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was not well. He had been suffering from an inflamed throat. These were the hot days of summer. M. was not keeping well either, and of late he had not been able to visit Sri Ramakrishna frequently.
  
  --
  
  M: said humbly, "Please don't eat it without consulting the Mother:" Sri Ramakrishna could not take the ice.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna began to talk to Dwija, who was about sixteen years old. His father had married a second time. Dwija often accompanied M. to Dakshineswar, and Sri Ramakrishna was fond of him. The boy said that his father opposed his coming to Dakshineswar.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna intended to visit the religious festival at Panihati; so he was asking the devotees to go too.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna looked steadily at Dwija.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna told the devotees about his visit to Captain's house. Captain had criticized the young men who visited the Master. Perhaps Hazra had poisoned his mind.
  
  --
  
  After speaking thus, Sri Ramakrishna laughed. Then he began to tell of Captain's many virtues.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna asked M. about Purna.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to a devotee that he should show respect to his elder brother. He said: "The elder brother is like one's father. Respect him."
  
  --
  
  The pundit was about to take leave of Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  The brahmin lady listened to the account of Ram Mallick s grief for his nephew. For the last few days she had been running to the Master from her home at Baghbazar like an insane person. She was eager to know whether Sri Ramakrishna could suggest any remedy for her unquenchable grief. Sri Ramakrishna resumed the conversation.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to Kishori, "Please show the temples to the children." He began to talk to Captain. M., Dwija, and the other devotees were sitting on the floor. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch, facing the north. He asked Captain to sit in front of him on the same couch.
  
  --
  
  Captain and the devotees watched this love-ecstasy of Sri Ramakrishna. They sat quietly gazing at him, awaiting his return to the consciousness of the world.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was talking thus to Captain and the devotees when Jaygopal Sen and Trailokya of the Brahmo Samaj arrived. They saluted the Master and sat down. Sri Ramakrishna looked at Trailokya with a smile and continued the conversation.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna began to speak about the renunciation of action. But he also said that those who felt they must do their duties should do them in a detached spirit.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to him, "Ah, how sweetly you sing!"
  
  --
  
  While Sri Ramakrishna listened to the songs he was overwhelmed with emotion. Again and again he said: "Ah, Thou art all! Ah me! Ah me!"
  
  "The music was over. It was six o'clock in the evening. Sri Ramakrishna went to the pine-grove, M. accompanying him. Sri Ramakrishna was laughing and talking.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was to go to Calcutta in the evening. While returning from the pine-grove he said to M., "I don't know who will take me to Calcutta in his carriage."
  
  It was evening. A lamp was lighted in Sri Ramakrishna's room and incense was burnt.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sat on the small couch. After chanting the names of the different deities, he meditated on the Divine Mother. The evening service was over. Sri Ramakrishna paced the room, now and then talking to the devotees. He also consulted M. about his going to Calcutta.
  
  --
  
  At the sight of Narendra Sri Ramakrishna's love overflowed. He tenderly touched Narendra's chin as one touches a baby's to show one's love. He said in a loving voice, "Ah, you have come!"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in Balarm's drawing-room with the devotees. It was nine o'clock in the morning. Balarm was going to celebrate the Car Festival the following day. The Deity Jagannath was worshipped daily at his house. He had a small car which would be drawn along the verandah to celebrate the festival. The Master had been specially invited for the occasion.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna and M. were talking together. Narayan, Tejchandra, Balarm, and other devotees were in the room. The Master was talking about Purna, a lad of fifteen. He was very eager to see the boy.
  
  --
  
  A man dressed in an ochre robe entered the room and greeted the Master. Privately he was in the habit of criticizing Sri Ramakrishna; so at the sight of him Balarm laughed.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna could read a man's mind. He said to Balarm: "Never mind. Let him say I am a cheat."
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was talking to Tejchandra.
  
  --
  
  It was noon. Sri Ramakrishna partook of the food that had been offered to the Family Deity, Jagannath. The Master often used to say that the food at Balarm's house was very pure. Afterwards he rested awhile.
  
  
  Late in the afternoon Sri Ramakrishna sat with the devotees in the drawing-room of Balarm's house. Chandra Babu, of the Kartabhaja sect, and a witty brahmin were there.
  
  --
  
  About six o'clock Girish's brother Atul and Tejchandra's brother arrived. Sri Ramakrishna was in samdhi. A few minutes later he said, still in the ecstatic mood: "Can one become unconscious by meditating on Consciousness? Can one lose one's mind by thinking of God? God is of the very nature of Knowledge; He is of the very nature of Eternity, Purity, and Consciousness.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to the witty brahmin: "Why do you waste your time with these frivolous jokes about insignificant worldly things? Direct your mind to God. If a man can calculate about salt, he can also calculate about sugar candy."
  
  --
  
  About a new visitor Sri Ramakrishna said: "I didn't find any substance in him. He seemed worthless."
  
  It was dusk. Lamps were lighted in the room. Sri Ramakrishna was meditating on the Divine Mother and chanting Her name in his melodious voice. The devotees sat around him. Since Balarm was going to celebrate the Car Festival at his house the following day, Sri Ramakrishna intended to spend the night there.
  
  After taking some refreshments in the inner apartments, Sri Ramakrishna returned to the parlour. It was about ten o'dock. The Master said to M., "Please bring my towel from the other room." A bed was made for Sri Ramakrishna in the adjoining small room.
  
  About half past ten Sri Ramakrishna lay down to sleep. It was summertime. He said to M., "You had better bring a fan." He asked the disciple to fan him. At midnight Sri Ramakrishna woke up. He said to M., "Don't fan me any more; I feel chilly."
  
  --
  
  It was the day of the Car Festival. Sri Ramakrishna left his bed very early in the morning. He was alone in the room, dancing and chanting the name of God. M. entered and saluted the Master. Other devotees arrived one by one. They saluted the Master and took seats near him. Sri Ramakrishna was longing intensely for Purna. He was talking to M. about him.
  
  --
  
  It was about half past six in the morning. M. was going to bathe in the Ganges, when suddenly tremors of an earthquake were felt. At once he returned to Sri Ramakrishna's room. The Master stood in the drawing room. The devotees stood around him. They were talking about the earthquake. The shaking had been rather violent, and many of the devotees were frightened.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sat in the drawing-room with the devotees. Mahendra Mukherji, Hari, the younger Naren, and many other devotees were there. Hari lived alone and studied Vednta. He was about twenty-three years old, and unmarried. Sri Ramakrishna was very fond of him. He wanted Hari to visit him frequently. But since Hari loved solitude he did not often come to the Master.
  
  --
  
  Looking at the younger Naren, Sri Ramakrishna said: "What will you gain by merely being intuitively aware of God's existence? A mere vision of God is by no means everything. You have to bring Him into your room. You have to talk to Him.
  
  --
  
  M. went to the Ganges to take his bath. It was ten o'clock. Sri Ramakrishna was still talking with the devotees. After finishing his bath, M. returned to Balarm's house. He saluted the Master and sat down near him.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was filled with intense spiritual fervour. Words of wisdom flowed from him. Now and then he narrated his profound mystical experiences to the devotees.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was describing the vision of God, when he went into samdhi. The devotees looked at him with fixed gaze. After a long time he regained consciousness of the world and talked to the devotees.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to a devotee, "Will you kindly fetch Purna?"
  
  Narendra arrived. Sri Ramakrishna asked a devotee to give him some refreshments. He was greatly pleased at the sight of Narendra. When he fed Narendra, he felt that he was feeding Narayana Himself. He stroked Narendra's body affectionately.
  
  --
  
  Gopal Ma entered the room. She was a great devotee of Gopala and was blessed with many lofty spiritual visions. Sri Ramakrishna had asked Balarm to send a man to bring her from Kamarhati. As soon as she entered the room she said, "I am shedding tears of joy." With these words she bowed before the Master, touching the ground with her forehead.
  
  --
  
  It was the day of the Car Festival; so there was some delay in the worship of the Family Deity. When the worship was finished Sri Ramakrishna was asked to have his meal. He went to the inner apartments. The woman devotees were anxious to see him.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had many woman devotees, but he did not talk much about them to his man devotees. He would warn the men against visiting woman devotees. He would say: "Don't overdo it. Otherwise you will slip." To some of his man devotees he would say, "Don't go near a woman even if she rolls on the ground with devotion." The Master wanted the men to live apart from woman devotees; only thus would the two groups make progress. He did not like the woman devotees to caress the men as "Gopala"; for too much of this motherly affection was not good; it degenerated in time into a harmful relationship.
  
  After his midday meal Sri Ramakrishna sat in the drawing-room with the devotees. It was one o'clock. A devotee brought Purna from his home. With great joy the Master exclaimed to M.: "Here he is! Purna has come." Narendra, the younger Naren, Narayan, Haripada, and other devotees were talking with the Master.
  
  --
  
  When Sri Ramakrishna had heard a line or two of the song he went into samdhi. He stood up in that ecstatic mood, The younger Naren supported him. The Master's face was lighted with a smile. Gradually his body became motionless; his mind appeared to have gone to another realm. All the devotees in the room looked at him in amazement. The woman devotees watched the scene from behind the screen. After a long time he came down from samdhi, chanting the holy name of God.
  
  --
  
  It was afternoon. In the mean time the small car of Jagannath, decorated with flowers, flags, and bunting, had been brought to the inner verandah. The images of Jagannath, Subhadra, and Balarama, were adorned with sandal-paste, flower garlands, robes and jewelry. Sri Ramakrishna left the room where the professional musicians were singing and came to the verandah, accompanied by the devotees. He stood in front of the car and pulled it by the rope. He began to sing and dance with the devotees in front of the car.
  
  --
  
  The music and dancing went on in the verandah as the car was pulled to and fro. A large crowd entered the house on hearing the loud music and the beating of the drums. Sri Ramakrishna was completely intoxicated with divine love. The devotees felt its contagion and danced with the Master in an ecstasy of love.
  
  Afterwards Sri Ramakrishna returned to the drawing-room. M. and other devotees stroked his feet.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was dancing, drunk with divine love, and he sang again and again, "O
  
  --
  
  After dancing a long time Sri Ramakrishna resumed his seat. He was very much pleased to see Narendra in a spiritual mood, singing with tears in his eyes.
  
  --
  
  Girish had brought with him a respectable friend. The latter observed all these things and left the place. Sri Ramakrishna said to Girish: "I say this to you and to everyone: Please do not force anybody to come here. Nothing happens except at the right time."
  
  Before leaving, a devotee saluted the Master. He had a young boy with him. Sri Ramakrishna said to him affectionately, "It is getting late, and you have this boy with you." Narendra, the younger Naren, and a few other devotees stayed awhile and then took their leave.
  
  --
  
  It was four, o'clock in the morning. Sri Ramakrishna was in bed in the small room next to the drawing-room. M. was sitting on a bench on the outer verandah to the south of the room. A few minutes later Sri Ramakrishna came out to the verandah. M. saluted him.
  
  --
  
  Day was gradually breaking. The devotees had not yet arrived. Sri Ramakrishna had washed his mouth and was chanting the names of God in his sweet voice. He stood near the north door of the room. M. was by his side. A few minutes later Gopal Ma arrived and stood near him. One or two woman devotees were looking at the Master from behind the doors of the inner apartments. They were like the gopis of Vrindvan looking at Sri Krishna, or the woman devotees of Nadia looking at Gaurnga from behind the screen.
  
  After chanting the name of Rma, Sri Ramakrishna chanted the name of Krishna: "Krishna! Krishna! Krishna of the gopis! Gopi! Gopi! Krishna, the Life of the cowherd boys of Vrindvan! Krishna, the son of Nanda! Govinda! Govinda!"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was talking with the devotees in the small room in Balarm's house.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was recounting to the devotees some of his spiritual experiences.
  
  --
  
  It was nine o'clock. Sri Ramakrishna was about to leave for Dakshineswar. Arrangements were being made for his departure. A boat had been hired at Baghbazar. The devotees saluted the Master. Sri Ramakrishna went to the boat with one or two devotees. Gopal Ma accompanied them. She intended to spend the morning at Dakshineswar and go to Kamarhati in the afternoon. The camp cot generally used by Rkhl at Dakshineswar had been sent to Calcutta for repair. It was put in the boat, and the boat left for Dakshineswar. According to the Hindu almanac the day was not auspicious. So Sri Ramakrishna decided to return to Balarm's house the next Saturday and start again for Dakshineswar on an auspicious day.
  
  --
  
  IT WAS ABOUT THREE O'CLOCK in the afternoon. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in Balarm's drawing-room with the devotees. Among others, Binode, Rkhl, the younger Naren, and M. were present. The Master had come to Balarm's house in the morning and had taken his midday meal there. At Balarm's house the Deity was worshipped as Jagannth, and the members of the family partook of the food offered to the Deity; Sri Ramakrishna used to say that the food at Balarm's house was very pure.
  
  --
  
  Narayan and certain other devotees had remarked to the Master that Nanda Bose, an aristocrat of Baghbazar, had many pictures of gods and goddesses in his house. Hence Sri Ramakrishna intended to pay a visit to Nanda's house in the afternoon. A Brahmin woman devoted to the Master lived near by. She often came to see him at Dakshineswar. She was extremely sorrowful over the death of her only daughter, and the Master had agreed to go to her house. She had invited him with great earnestness.
  
  --
  
  The younger Naren had said to Sri Ramakrishna that he would not be able to visit him often on account of his having to prepare for his examinations.
  
  --
  
  He was ready to go to Nanda Bose' house. A palanquin was brought for him, and he got into it repeating the name of God. He had put on a pair of black varnished slippers and a red-bordered cloth. As Sri Ramakrishna sat down in the palanquin, M. put the slippers by his side. He accompanied the palanquin on foot. Paresh joined them.
  
  --
  
  Nanda Bose and his brother Pasupati saluted Sri Ramakrishna. The devotees of the Master also arrived. Girish's brother Atul came, and Prasanna's father, who was a frequent visitor at Nanda's house, was there. Prasanna was a devotee of the Master.
  
  --
  
  The first picture was of Vishnu with four arms. At the very sight of it Sri Ramakrishna was overwhelmed with ecstasy; he sat down on the floor and remained a few minutes in that spiritual mood.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna then saw pictures of Dhumavati, Shorasi, Bhuvanesvari, Tara, and Kli.
  
  --
  
  At the sight of Annapurna's picture, Sri Ramakrishna exclaimed with great fervour, "Grand! Grand!"
  
  --
  
  After seeing the pictures, Sri Ramakrishna went to the master of the house and said: "I am very happy today. It is grand! You are a real Hindu. You have these pictures instead of English ones. I am surprised!"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sat down. He said: "These are very large pictures. You are a real Hindu."
  
  --
  
  A picture of Kasha's Nava-Vishnu hung on the wall. Suresh Mitra, a beloved householder disciple of the Master, had had it painted. In this picture Sri Ramakrishna was pointing out to Keshab that people of different religions proceed to the same goal by different paths.
  
  --
  
  As he spoke Sri Ramakrishna manifested great spiritual fervour. He was in an ecstatic mood, talking to the Divine Mother. A few minutes later he said, like a drunkard, "I am not unconscious." Looking at the house, he said: "It is a huge mansion. But what does it consist of? Bricks, timber, and clay."
  
  --
  
  The master of the house had not yet shown any sign of serving Sri Ramakrishna with refreshments. Sri Ramakrishna himself said to Nanda: "You see, you should offer me something to eat. That is why the other day I said to Jadu's mother: 'Look here. Give me something to eat.' Otherwise it brings harm to the householder."
  
  Nanda Bose ordered some sweets. Sri Ramakrishna began to eat them. Nanda and the others were watching the Master and his actions. After eating the sweets, Sri Ramakrishna wanted to wash his hands. The plate on which the sweets were served had been placed on the sheet covering the carpet; so the Master could not wash his hands in the plate. A servant brought a brass bowl for him to use. But Sri Ramakrishna would not use it, since only rajasic people used such things. He asked the servant to take it away.
  
  The master of the house said to him, "Please wash your hands." Absent-mindedly Sri Ramakrishna said: "What? Shall I wash my hands?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was warning Nanda of flatterers.
  
  --
  
  Nanda's house was like a palace. Sri Ramakrishna said to him: "Jadu hasn't such a big house. I told him so the other day."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was encouraging Nanda.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was about to take his leave.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna rose. The devotees followed him. Pasupati accompanied them to the door.
  
  --
  
  The Master arrived at the house of the brahmin lady who was grief-stricken on account of her daughter's death. It was an old brick house. Entering the house, the Master passed the cowshed on his left. He and the devotees went to the roof, where they took seats. People were standing there in rows. Others were seated. They were all eager to get a glimpse of Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  
  The brahmani had a sister; both of them were widows. Their brothers also lived in the house with their families. The brahmani had been busy all day making arrangements to receive Sri Ramakrishna. While the Master was at Nanda Bose's house she had been extremely restless, going out of the house every few minutes to see if he was coming.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was seated on a carpet. M., Narayan, Jogin, Devendra, and others were seated on a mat. A few minutes later the Younger Naren and some other devotees arrived. The brahmani's sister came to the Master and saluted him. She said, "Sister has just gone to Nanda Bose's house to inquire the reason for your delay in coming here.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna sat there smiling, surrounded by devotees.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna laughed.
  
  --
  
  After a while she very respectfully took Sri Ramakrishna to another room and offered him sweets and other refreshments. The devotees were entertained on the roof.
  
  It was about eight o'clock in the evening. Sri Ramakrishna was ready to leave. When he came to the door, the brahmani asked her sister-in-law to salute the Master. Next, one of her brothers took the dust of the Master's feet. Referring to him, she said: "He is one of my brothers. He is a fool" "No, no!" said the Master. "They are all good." A man showed the way with a light. At places it was dark. Sri Ramakrishna stood in front of the cowshed. The devotees gathered around him. M. saluted the Master, who was about to go to the house of Ganu's mother.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was seated in the drawing-room of Ganu's mother's house. It was on the Street floor. The room was used by a concert party. Several young men played on their instruments now and then for the pleasure of the Master.
  
  --
  
  The orchestra went on playing. After it was over, Sri Ramakrishna said joyfully, "It is very fine indeed." Pointing to a young man, he said, "He seems to know how to play every instrument." He said to M., "They are all good people."
  
  --
  
  All laughed. A few minutes later the brahmani said to Sri Ramakrishna, "Please come inside."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna went inside accompanied by the brahmani and the young men of the family. The devotees were strolling outside in the moonlight. M. and Binode were pacing the street south of the house and recalling the various incidents in the life of their beloved Master.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna had returned to Balarm's house. He was resting in the small room to the west of the drawing-room. It was quite late, almost a quarter to eleven.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to Jogin, "Please rub my feet gently." M. was sitting near by. While Jogin was rubbing his feet the Master said suddenly: "I feel hungry. I shall eat some farina pudding."
  
  The brahmani had accompanied the Master and the devotees to Balarm's house. Her brother knew how to play the drums. Sri Ramakrishna said, "It will serve our purpose to send for her brother when Narendra or some other singer wants to sing."
  
  Sri Ramakrishna ate a little pudding. Jogin and the other devotees left the room. M. was stroking the Master's feet. They talked together.
  
  --
  
  As he said this, Sri Ramakrishna pointed with his finger to his own body.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was very much pleased. Patting M.'s back, he said: "I see you have understood that. That's fine!"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was silent a few moments. Then he said to M.: "Perhaps there is a meaning in what has happened to my throat [referring to the sore in his throat]. This has happened lest I should make myself light before all; lest I should go to all sorts of places and sing and dance."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna began to talk about Dwija.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna lay down inside the mosquito curtain. M. fanned him. The Master turned on his side. He told M. how God incarnates Himself in a human body. He told him, further, about his, M.'s, spiritual ideal.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room at Dakshineswar. Rkhl, M., Dwija and his father, and other devotees were present. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was not well. It was the beginning of the illness subsequently diagnosed as the fatal cancer. But this did not disturb the serenity of his mind. Day and night he had only one thought, and that was the spiritual welfare of his disciples. He was guiding them toward the attainment of God. He encouraged them constantly to cultivate knowledge and devotion and warned them of the snares of "woman and gold". He was completely indifferent to his own illness and devoted himself whole-heartedly to the fulfilment of his earthly mission.
  
  --
  
  Dwija's father had for a long time been speaking of visiting Sri Ramakrishna. Today he had come to Dakshineswar. He was the manager of a business firm in Calcutta and had passed his examination in law.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna came down from the couch and sat on the floor beside Dwija's father.
  
  --
  
  It was nearly evening. Sri Ramakrishna asked M. and the others to show Dwija's father the temples. He said to them, "I should have accompanied him myself if I were well." He asked someone to give sweets to the young men and said to Dwija's father: "Let the children have a little refreshment. It is customary." Dwija's father visited the temples and the images and took a stroll in the garden.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna engaged happily in conversation with Bhupen, Dwija, M., and others on the southeast porch of his room. He playfully slapped Bhupen and M. on the back. He said to Dwija with a laugh, "How I talked to your father!"
  
  Dwija's father returned to Sri Ramakrishna's room after dusk. He intended to leave shortly. He was feeling hot. Sri Ramakrishna fanned him himself. In a few minutes the father took leave of the Master. Sri Ramakrishna stood up to bid him farewell.
  
  It was eight o'clock. Sri Ramakrishna was talking to Mahimacharan. Rkhl, M., and one or two companions of Mahimacharan were in the room. Mahimacharan was going to spend the night at the temple garden.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna came down to the floor and sat near Mahimacharan. M. and a few other devotees were near him. Rkhl also was in the room.
  
  --
  
  Rkhl, M., and the others were speechless as they drank in this account of Sri Ramakrishna's unique experiences.
  
  But did Mahimacharan understand the import of these words? Even after hearing them, he said to the Master, "These things have happened to you on account of your meritorious actions in your past births." Mahima still thought that Sri Ramakrishna was a sdhu or a devotee of God. The Master nodded assent to Mahima's words and said: "Yes, the result of past actions. God is like an aristocrat who has many mansions. Here [referring to himself] is one of His drawing-rooms. The bhakta is God's drawing-room."
  
  It was nine o'clock in the evening. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch. It was Mahimacharan's desire to form a brahmachakra in the presence of the Master.
  
  --
  
  There was intense darkness everywhere. One or two devotees were pacing the concrete embankment of the Ganges. Sri Ramakrishna was up. He came out and said to the devotees, "Nangta told me that at this time, about midnight, one hears the Anhata sound."
  
  In the early hours of the morning Mahimacharan and M. lay down on the floor of the Master's room. Rkhl slept on a camp cot. Now and then Sri Ramakrishna paced up and down the room with his clothes off, like a five-year-old child.
  
  --
  
  It was dawn. The Master was chanting the name of the Divine Mother. He went to the porch west of his room and looked at the Ganges; then he stopped in front of the pictures of different gods and goddesses in the room and bowed to them. The devotees left their beds, saluted Sri Ramakrishna, and went out.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was told of a devotee who had divine visions even while he was awake.
  
  --
  
  It was eight o'clock in the morning. M. bathed in the Ganges and came to Sri Ramakrishna. The brahmani who was grief-stricken on account of her daughter's death also entered the room.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was in his room at the temple garden. He had been observing silence since eight o'clock in the morning. Did he know the fatal nature of his illness? At his silence the Holy Mother wept. Rkhl and Ltu also wept. The brahmani widow from Baghbazar arrived. She too was weeping at this strange mood of the Master. Now and then the devotees asked him whether he would remain silent for good. The Master answered them in the negative, by a sign.
  
  At three o'clock in the afternoon Narayan arrived. Sri Ramakrishna said to him, "The Divine Mother will bless you," Narayan told the other devotees that the Master had spoken to him. A heavy weight was lifted from their breasts. They all came into the Master's room and sat on the floor.
  
  --
  
  The news of Sri Ramakrishna's illness had been reported to the devotees in Calcutta.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was in his usual happy mood. He was talking to the devotees.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room at Dakshineswar. It was five o'clock in the afternoon. There were two or three devotees with him. While with the devotees he never gave a thought to his physical illness, often spending the whole day with them talking and singing.
  
  Doctor Madhu was treating Sri Ramakrishna. He frequently visited the Master at Dakshineswar, coming by country boat from Calcutta. The devotees were very much worried about the Master; it was their secret desire that the physician should see him daily. M. said to the Master, "Doctor Madhu is an experienced physician. It will be nice if he sees you every day."
  
  
  Pundit Shyamapada of Antpur arrived. It was dusk. The pundit went to the bank of the Ganges to perform his evening worship; he had some amazing visions during the worship. He returned to the Master's room and sat on the floor. Sri Ramakrishna had just finished meditation and the chanting of the holy names. He was sitting on the small couch and M. on the foot-rug. Rkhl, Ltu, and the others were in and out of the room.
  
  --
  
  The pundit recited a hymn to Narayana . Sri Ramakrishna was overwhelmed with joy.
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna listened to the hymn he went into samdhi. He remained standing.
  
  --
  
  After the pundit had left the room Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "Don't you see that what I have said is coming to pass? Those who have sincerely practised meditation and japa must come here."
  
  It was ten o'clock. Sri Ramakrishna ate a little farina pudding and lay down. He asked M.
  
  --
  
  It was dawn. Sri Ramakrishna was awake and meditating on the Divine Mother. On account of his illness the devotees were deprived of his sweet chanting of the Mother's name.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was seated on the small couch. He asked M., "Well, why have I this illness?"
  
  --
  
  Similarities between Christ and Sri Ramakrishna But there are many similarities between you and Jesus Christ."
  
  --
  
  M. saluted the Master and took his leave. Sri Ramakrishna said to him tenderly: "Come early in the morning tomorrow. The hot sun of the rainy season is bad for the health."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was resting in his room. It was about eight o'clock in the evening.
  
  --
  
  After hearing the letter the Master had remarked: "I feel thrilled to hear this. Even later on, he will be able to keep this bliss. Let me see the letter." He had pressed the letter in the palm of his hand and said: "Generally I cannot touch letters. But this is a good letter." That same night, while the Master was in bed, he had suddenly become covered with perspiration. He had sat up in bed, saying, "It seems to me that I shall not recover from this illness." It had worried the devotees very much to hear this. The Holy Mother had come to the Temple Garden to wait on Sri Ramakrishna and was living in a room in the Nahabat. The devotees, with the exception of one or two, were not aware of her presence. A woman devotee staying with the Holy Mother had begun to pay frequent visits to Sri Ramakrishna in his room. After a few days Sri Ramakrishna had said to her: "You have been here some time. What will people think about it? You had better go home for a week or so."
  
  Sri Ramakrishna lay in bed, on his side, with his back to the room. After dusk Gangadhar and M. arrived from Calcutta. Gangadhar sat at the feet of the Master, who was talking to M.
  
  --
  
  It was nine o'clock in the evening. Sri Ramakrishna ate a little farina pudding and had no difficulty in swallowing it. He said to M. cheerfully: "I was able to eat a little. I feel very happy."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was about to take his bath. A devotee was rubbing his Body with oil on the verandah south of his room. M. came there after finishing his bath in the Ganges and saluted the Master.
  
  
  After bathing, Sri Ramakrishna wrapped himself in a towel and with folded hands saluted the deities in the temples from afar. He could not go to the temples because of his illness.
  
  
  It was the sacred Janmasthami day, the birthday of Krishna. Ram and other devotees had brought new clothes for Sri Ramakrishna. He put them on and looked charming.
  
  --
  
  It was eleven o'clock in the morning. The devotees were gradually arriving from Calcutta. Balarm, Narendra, the younger Naren, NavaGopal, and a Vaishnava from katoa arrived. Rkhl and Ltu were staying with Sri Ramakrishna. A Punjabi sdhu had been staying in the Panchavati for some days.
  
  The younger Naren had a tumour on his forehead. Sri Ramakrishna was strolling in the Panchavati with the devotees. He said to the younger Naren: "Why don't you have your tumour operated on? It is not in the throat but only on the forehead. That is a simple thing. People have their orchitis operated on."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna and the devotees returned to the Master's room. The conversation turned to Shyamapada Bhattacharya.
  
  --
  
  The Vaishnava from Katoa began to ask Sri Ramakrishna questions. He was squint-eyed.
  
  --
  
  Girish Ghosh arrived in a carriage with one or two friends. He was drunk. He was weeping as he entered the room. He wept, as he placed his head on Sri Ramakrishna's feet.
  
  
  Sri Ramakrishna affectionately patted him on the back. He said to a devotee, "Prepare a smoke for him."
  
  --
  
  Girish was still under the influence of drink. Now and then he said to Sri Ramakrishna, "Well, sir, how is it that you were not born this time with your celestial beauty?"
  
  --
  
  Presently Girish returned. He prayed to Sri Ramakrishna and said, "O God, give me purity that I may not have even a trace of sinful thought."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna took his midday meal. On account of his illness he ate very little.
  
  --
  
  He would force his mind to be conscious of the body. But, like a child, he was incapable of looking after his body. Like a child he said to the devotees: "I have eaten a little. I shall rest now. You may go out for a little while." Sri Ramakrishna rested a few minutes.
  
  --
  
  Dr. Rkhl arrived to examine Sri Ramakrishna. The Master said to him eagerly, "Come in and sit down."
  
  --
  
  Like a child Sri Ramakrishna said to the physician, "Sir, please cure my throat."
  
  --
  
  The doctor was going to examine Sri Ramakrishna's throat. The Master said, "Dr.
  
  --
  
  Like a child Sri Ramakrishna said to the physician, pulling at his shirt-sleeves again and again, "Sir! My dear sir! Please cure my throat." Looking at the laryngoscope, he said with a smile: "I know it. You will see the reflection in it."
  
  --
  
  After finishing his midday meal Sri Ramakrishna sat on the small couch and talked to Dr.
  
  Bhagavan Rudra and M. Rkhl, Ltu, and other devotees were in the room. The physician heard all about the Master's illness. Sri Ramakrishna came down to the floor and sat near the doctor.
  
  --
  
  The Master asked a devotee to bring a rupee. When Sri Ramakrishna held it in his hand, the hand began to writhe with pain. The Master's breathing also stopped. After the coin had been taken away, he breathed deeply three times and his hand relaxed. The doctor became speechless with wonder to see this strange phenomenon.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was much pleased with the physician. He said to him: "You have a very fine nature. There are two characteristics of knowledge: a peaceful nature and absence of pride."
  
  --
  
  The doctor was going to examine the Master's throat Sri Ramakrishna was seated in a chair on the semicircular porch.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room, surrounded by devotees. NavaGopal, Haralal, Rkhl, Ltu, and others were present. A goswami who was a musician was also there.
  
  --
  
  The physician made out his prescription. Sri Ramakrishna was talking.
  
  --
  
  The goswami had been invited to sing kirtan. A devotee asked, "Will there be any kirtan?" Sri Ramakrishna was ill, and all were afraid that the kirtan might throw his mind into ecstasy and thus aggravate the illness.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said: "Let there be a little singing. All are afraid of my going into ecstasy. Spiritual emotion hurts the throat."
  
  The goswami began the kirtan. Sri Ramakrishna could not control himself.
  
  --
  
  They saluted the Master. Sri Ramakrishna said to M. affectionately, "Have you had your meal?"
  
  --
  
  It was the night of the full moon. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on the small couch. He was very ill. M. and some other devotees were sitting on the floor.
  
  --
  
  Pointing to one of the ladies, Sri Ramakrishna asked: "Who is this lady? Is it she who brought up Dwija? Why has Dwija bought an ektara?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was then under Dr. Pratap's treatment. He awoke at midnight and felt extremely restless. Harish, his attendant was in the room. Rkhl also was there. Ramlal was asleep on the verandah. The Master remarked later on: "I was feeling extremely restless. I felt like embracing Harish. They rubbed a little medicinal oil on my head. Then I began to dance."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna AT SYAMPUKUR
  
  --
  
  THE DOCTORS HAD DEFINITELY diagnosed Sri Ramakrishna's illness as cancer. No proper arrangement for his treatment and nursing could be made at Dakshineswar. He needed the constant attention of a physician, which could not be given at the temple garden. Furthermore, the devotees who lived in Calcutta found it very inconvenient to attend on him daily at Dakshineswar. Therefore the older devotees had rented a small two-storey house in Baghbazar, Calcutta, and had brought the Master there. Sri Ramakrishna, however, had not liked the place and had gone to Balarm's house. In a few days a new house had been engaged in Syampukur, in the northern section of Calcutta, and the Master had been taken there. He had been placed under the treatment of Dr. Mahendra Lal Sarcar. The new building had two large rooms and two smaller ones on the second floor. One of the larger rooms was used as the parlour, and in the other the Master lived. Of the two smaller rooms, one was used as a sleeping-room by the devotees, and the other by the Holy Mother when she came there. Near the exit to the roof was a small, covered, square space, where the Holy Mother stayed during the day and prepared the Master's food.
  
  It was Vijaya day, the fourth day of the worship of Durga, when the image is immersed in water. On that day the Divine Mother returns to Her heavenly abode at Mount Kailas, leaving gloom in the hearts of Her devotees. It was eight o'clock in the morning. The air was chilly. Though ill, Sri Ramakrishna was sitting on his bed. He was like a five year-old child who knows nothing but its mother. NavaGopal, M., and a few other devotees were present.
  
  --
  
  Surendra arrived and sat down. The Divine Mother had been worshipped at his house for the past three days. Sri Ramakrishna had not been able to go there on account of his illness, but he had sent some of his disciples. Surendra was in a very unhappy mood because on this day the image of the Mother was to be immersed in the water.
  
  --
  
  Surendra was disconsolate. He was crying to the Divine Mother and talking to Her. At this yearning of his beloved disciple Sri Ramakrishna could not control his tears. He looked at M. and said in a choked voice: "What bhakti! Ah, what great love he feels for God!"
  
  --
  
  SURENDRA "At that time I was crying to the Mother in the worship hall. My elder brothers had gone upstairs. I thought the Mother said, 'I will come again.' "It was about eleven o'clock in the morning. Sri Ramakrishna finished his meal. M. poured water into his hand for him to rinse his mouth.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was talking with M. about Dr. Sarkar. M. had been at the doctor's house the previous day to report the Master's condition.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was talking aside to Amrita. He asked him, "Do you meditate?" He further said to him: "Do you know!" what one feels in meditation? The mind becomes like a continuous flow of oil-it thinks of one object only, and that is God. It does not think of anything else."
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was talking to the devotees.
  
  --
  
  Doctor Sarkar, who was a homeopath, gave Sri Ramakrishna two globules of medicine.
  
  --
  
  It was Vijaya day. Sri Ramakrishna asked Dr. Sarkar to have some refreshments. The devotees served him with sweets.
  
  --
  
  Dr. Sarkar took his leave. It was Vijaya day, when people show their love and respect to their friends and elders with appropriate greetings. The devotees all prostrated themselves before Sri Ramakrishna and took the dust of his feet. Then they embraced one another. Their joy knew no bounds. The Master was seriously ill, but he made them all forget about his illness. The embracing and exchange of greetings continued a long time. The devotees also took light refreshments. The younger Naren, M., and a few other devotees sat near Sri Ramakrishna. The Master talked to them joyfully. He spoke of Dr.Sarkar.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said: "I heard your music; but why did you make mistakes in the rhythm? I once heard of a man who was an adept in discord. You sang like him." (All laugh.)
  
  A young man, a relative of the younger Naren, arrived. He was bespectacled and foppishly dressed. Sri Ramakrishna spoke to the younger Naren.
  
  --
  
  It was Thursday evening, a few days after the Durga Puja. Sri Ramakrishna sat on his bed in his room on the second floor, with Dr.Sarkar, Ishan, and other devotees. Although Dr.Sarkar was a very busy physician, he would spend a long time-sometimes six or seven hours-in Sri Ramakrishna's company. He had great love for the Master and looked on the devotees as his own kith and kin. A lamp was burning in the room. Moonlight illumined the outside world.
  
  --
  
  DOCTOR (to the devotees): "If he [meaning Sri Ramakrishna] had studied books he could not have acquired so much knowledge. Faraday communed with nature; that is why he was able to discover many scientific truths. He could not have known so much from the mere study of books. Mathematical formulas only throw the brain into confusion and bar the path of original inquiry."
  
  --
  
  IT WAS THE DAY of the full moon following the Durga Puja, the worship of the Divine Mother. At ten o'clock in the morning Sri Ramakrishna was talking to M., who was helping him with his socks.
  
  --
  
  M. Smiled. The previous evening Sri Ramakrishna had had a long conversation with Dr.
  
  --
  
  The younger Naren reminded Sri Ramakrishna that he, the Master, had told the doctor about people's suffering from the threefold misery of the world and still bragging of their well-being. The disciple said, "That was very nice thing you said yesterday about the thorn, and also about burning it in the fire of Knowledge."
  
  --
  
  At eleven o'clock M. went to Dr. Sarkar's house to report Sri Ramakrishna's condition.
  
  --
  
  Doctor Sarkar remained silent. Sri Ramakrishna had said to him, "Your 'science' does not speak of God's Incarnation; therefore you say that God cannot incarnate Himself as man."
  
  It was midday. Doctor Sarkar took M. with him in his carriage. He was going to visit Sri Ramakrishna after seeing his other patients.
  
  --
  
  It was three o'clock in the afternoon. One or two devotees were seated near Sri Ramakrishna. He became impatient, like a child. Repeatedly he asked the devotees, "When is the doctor coming?" "What time is it now?" Doctor Sarkar was expected in the evening.
  
  Suddenly Sri Ramakrishna was overwhelmed with a strange mood. He placed his pillow on his lap. Filled with maternal love, he began to caress it and hold it to his breast as if it were his child. He was in an ecstatic mood. His face was lighted with a childlike smile. He put on his cloth in a strange manner. The devotees looked at him in amazement.
  
  A little later Sri Ramakrishna was in his normal mood. It was time for his meal. He ate a little boiled farina.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was again in samdhi. He regained consciousness and began to talk to M.
  
  --
  
  This reminded M. of Sri Ramakrishna's saying that the magician alone is real and all else unreal.
  
  --
  
  It was evening. Sri Ramakrishna was seated on his bed, thinking of the Divine Mother and repeating Her hallowed name. The devotees sat near him in silence. Ltu, ai, Sarat, the younger Naren, Paltu, Bhupati, Girish, and others were present. Ramtaran of the Star Theatre had come with Girish to entertain Sri Ramakrishna with his singing. A few minutes later Dr. Sarkar arrived.
  
  --
  
  "Really?" said Sri Ramakrishna. He was much pleased at the doctor's love and thoughtfulness for him.
  
  --
  
  As Sri Ramakrishna listened to the song, he went into samdhi.
  
  --
  
  When the song was over, Sri Ramakrishna said to the singer: "What is this? Why this decoction of bitter neem-leaves after the rice pudding? The moment you sang, Shine forth, O Shining One, and with Thy shafts of light; Slay Thou the blinding dark!, I had a vision of the Sun. As He arose, the darkness vanished, and all men took refuge at His feet."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was in an ecstatic mood, as he listened to the song. The musician sang again:
  
  --
  
  The younger Naren was absorbed in meditation. He sat like a stump. Pointing him out to the doctor, Sri Ramakrishna said, "A very pure soul, unstained by the slightest touch of worldliness.
  
  --
  
  DOCTOR: "I don't know whether I feel that. But the heart alone knows the promptings of the heart. (To Sri Ramakrishna) Besides, there isn't much use in speaking about it."
  
  --
  
  It was about one o'clock in the afternoon. Sri Ramakrishna was seated on the second floor of the house at Syampukur. Dr. Sarkar, Narendra, Mahimacharan, M., and other devotees were in the room. Referring to the homeopathic system of medicine, the Master said to Dr. Sarkar, "This treatment of yours is very good."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna asked Narendra to sing. Narendra sang:
  
  --
  
  The singing was over. Dr. Sarkar sat there almost spellbound. After a time, with folded hands, he said very humbly to Sri Ramakrishna: "Allow me to take my leave now. I shall come again tomorrow."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna laughed.
  
  Dr. Sarkar took his leave. It was evening, the first night after the full moon. Sri Ramakrishna stood up, lost in samdhi. Nityagopal stood beside him in a reverent attitude.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna took his seat. Nityagopal was stroking his feet. Devendra, Kalipada, and many other devotees were seated by his side.
  
  --
  
  Many of the devotees were taking their leave. Sri Ramakrishna stood up.
  
  --
  
  Suddenly Sri Ramakrishna said, "This is troubling me." The Master's throat was hurting him. Devendra said, "Your words cannot fool us any more." He thought that the Master feigned illness to hoodwink the devotees.
  
  --
  
  It was about half past six in the morning when M. arrived at Syampukur and asked Sri Ramakrishna about his health. He was on his way to Dr. Sarkar to report the Master's condition. The Master said to M: 'Tell the doctor that during the early hours of the morning my mouth becomes filled with water and I cough. Also ask him if I may take a bath."
  
  --
  
  Sarkar had visited him the previous Saturday. Pointing to the doctor, Mahima had said to Sri Ramakrishna, "Sir, you yourself have created this disease in order to pamper the doctor's pride."
  
  --
  
  M. requested the doctor to visit Sri Ramakrishna and returned home.
  
  In the afternoon, about three o'clock, M. came to the Master and repeated the conversation he had had with Dr. Sarkar. He said to Sri Ramakrishna, "Today the doctor embarrassed me."
  
  --
  
  (Sri Ramakrishna laughs.) Further he said: 'You don't know how much money I am losing every day. Every day I miss two or three calls.' "
  
  --
  
  There were many devotees, including Narendranath, in the room; Vijaykrishna Goswami arrived and respectfully took the dust of the Master's feet. Several Brahmo devotees came with him. Vijay had cut off his connection with the Brahmo Samaj and was practising spiritual discipline independently. Sri Ramakrishna was very fond of him on account of his piety and devotion. Though not a disciple of the Master, Vijay held him in very high respect. He had lived in Dcc a long time. Recently he had visited many sacred places in upper India.
  
  --
  
  Saying, "Yes, I have understood", Vijay fell prostrate before the Master. He held the Master's feet on his chest and clung to them. The Master was in deep samdhi, motionless as a picture. The devotees were overwhelmed by this sight. Some burst into tears and some chanted sacred hymns. All eyes were riveted on Sri Ramakrishna. They viewed him in different ways, according to their spiritual unfoldment: some as a great devotee, some as a holy man, and some as God Incarnate.
  
  --
  
  After a long time Sri Ramakrishna regained consciousness of the world.
  
  --
  
  Vijay was the first on his feet, carried away by divine intoxication. Then Sri Ramakrishna stood up, forgetting all about his painful and fatal illness. The doctor, who had been sitting in front of him, also stood up. Both patient and physician forgot themselves in the spell created by Narendra's music. The younger Naren and Ltu went into deep samdhi.
  
  --
  
  A little later Sri Ramakrishna resumed his conversation, the devotees taking their seats.
  
  --
  
  DOCTOR: "Nobody can beat you in talk!" (Laughter.) The conversation turned to other things. Sri Ramakrishna described to the doctor his ecstasies at Dakshineswar. He also told him how to control anger, lust, and the other passions.
  
  --
  
  Dr. Sarkar had declared the illness incurable. His words cast gloom over the minds of the Master's devotees and disciples. With unflagging devotion and zeal they nursed the patient-their teacher, guide, philosopher, and friend. A band of young disciples, led by Narendra, was preparing to renounce the world and dedicate their lives to the realization of God and the service of humanity. People flocked to the Master day and night. In spite of the excruciating pain in his throat, he welcomed them all with a cheerful face. There seemed to be no limit to his solicitude for their welfare. His face beamed as he talked to them about God. Dr. Sarkar, seeing that conversation aggravated the illness, forbade him to talk to people. "You must not talk to others," the physician had said to the Master, "but you may make an exception in my case." The doctor used to spend six or seven hours in Sri Ramakrishna's company, drinking in every word that fell from his lips.
  
  --
  
  DOCTOR (to M.): "I was talking about you just a minute ago. You said you would come at ten; I have been waiting for you an hour and a half. Your delay has made me worry about him [meaning Sri Ramakrishna].
  
  --
  
  Look here, I have been thinking of giving a feast to you all [meaning Sri Ramakrishna's devotees] one day."
  
  --
  
  The conversation again turned to Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  Depth of Sri Ramakrishna's experiences
  
  "In Sri Ramakrishna one finds all the attitudes and ideals of religion. That is why people of all sects and creeds enjoy peace and blessedness in his presence. Who can fathom his feeling and tell us the depth of his inner experience?"
  
  --
  
  It was about one o'clock in the afternoon when the doctor and M. entered the Master's room on the second floor. Sri Ramakrishna sat there, smiling as usual, completely forgetful of the fatal illness, which was eating his life away. Among the many devotees in the room were Girish, the younger Naren, and Sarat. Sometimes they were motionless, like the snake before its charmer, and sometimes they displayed great joy, like the bridal party with the bridegroom. The doctor and M. bowed low before the Master and sat on the floor. At the sight of the doctor, the Master said, laughing, "Today I have been feeling very well."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was seated in his room. Narendra and other devotees were with him.
  
  --
  
  Narendra went out for a few minutes. Sri Ramakrishna was talking to M about Purna.
  
  --
  
  Narendra entered the room and sat near Sri Ramakrishna. Since the death of his father he had been very much worried about the family's financial condition. He now had to support his mother and brothers. Besides, he was preparing himself for his law examination. Lately he had served as a teacher in the Vidysgar School at Bowbazar.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna knew all this. He looked affectionately at Narendra.
  
  --
  
  M. himself had been leading a worldly life. Instead of being ashamed of his own conduct, he smiled at Narendra. That was why Sri Ramakrishna referred to the woman who criticized the conduct of immoral women, though she herself had illicit love for her brother-in-law.
  
  A Vaishnava minstrel was singing downstairs. Sri Ramakrishna was pleased with his song and said that someone should give him a little money. A devotee went downstairs. The Master asked, "How much did he give the singer?" When he was told that the devotee had given only two pice, he said: "Just that much? This money is the fruit of his servitude. How much he had to flatter his master and suffer to earn it! I thought he would give at least four nns."
  
  The younger Naren had promised to show Sri Ramakrishna the nature of electricity with an instrument. The instrument was exhibited.
  
  It was about two o'clock. Sri Ramakrishna and the devotees were sitting in the room.
  
  Atul brought with him a friend who was a munsiff. Bagchi, the famous painter from Shikadarpara, arrived. He presented the Master with several paintings. Sri Ramakrishna examined the pictures with great delight.
  
  Bagchi had long hair like a woman's. Sri Ramakrishna said: "Many days ago a sannysi came to Dakshineswar who had hair nine cubits long. He used to chant the name of Radha. He was genuine."
  
  --
  
  Dr. Sarkar talked a little about the Master's illness and watched him take the first dose of medicine. Then Sri Ramakrishna began to talk to Shyam Basu. Dr. Sarkar started to leave, saying, "Now that you are talking to Shyam Basu, I shall say good-bye to you."
  
  --
  
  Dr. Sarkar said to M., "This song is dangerous for him." Sri Ramakrishna asked M. what the doctor had said. M. replied, "The doctor is afraid that this song may throw your mind into samdhi."
  
  --
  
  In the midst of the singing Sri Ramakrishna had regained consciousness of the outer world. When Narendra finished the song, the Master continued his conversation, keeping them all spellbound. The devotees looked at his face in wonder. It did not show the slightest trace of the agonizing pain of his illness. The face shone with heavenly joy.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna then recited the following song of Ramprasad: Come, let us go for a walk, O mind, to Kli, the Wish-fulfilling Tree, And there beneath it gather the four fruits of life.
  
  --
  
  Addressing Dr. Sarkar, Sri Ramakrishna continued: "Look here. One cannot attain Knowledge unless one is free from egotism. There is a saying:
  
  --
  
  DOCTOR: 'This question of excreta doesn't bother me. I too have no feeling of repugnance. Once a grocer's child was brought to my office for treatment. His bowels moved there. All covered their noses with cloths; but I sat by his side for half an hour without putting a handkerchief to my nose. Besides, I cannot cover my nose when the scavenger passes by me with a tub on his head. No, I cannot do that. I know very well that there is no difference between a scavenger and myself. Why should I look down on him? Can't I take the dust of his [meaning Sri Ramakrishna's] feet? Look here,"
  
  The doctor saluted Sri Ramakrishna and touched the Master's feet with his forehead.
  
  --
  
  (To Sri Ramakrishna) "Well, may I say something? When you are in ecstasy you place your foot on others' bodies. That is not good."
  
  --
  
  "Think of your own case. Once you suffered from colic. Didn't you have regrets at that time for sitting up and reading till very late at night? Does that prove that reading till the late hours of the night is, in itself, a bad thing? He [meaning Sri Ramakrishna] too may be sorry that he is ill. But that does not make him feel that it is wrong on his part to touch others for their welfare."
  
  --
  
  IT WAS ABOUT TEN O'CLOCK in the morning when M. arrived at Dr. Sarkar's house in Sankharitola, Calcutta, to report Sri Ramakrishna's condition. M. and Dr. Sarkar became engaged in conversation.
  
  --
  
  M: "As Sri Ramakrishna says, what shall we gain from these discussions? We have been born in this world in order to cultivate devotion to the Lotus Feet of God. He tells us the story of a man who entered an orchard to eat mangoes. But instead of eating the fruit, he took out pencil and paper and began to jot down the number of trees, branches, and leaves in the orchard. A servant saw him and asked: 'What are you doing? Why have you come here?' The man said: 'I have come here to eat mangoes. I am now counting the trees, branches, and leaves in the orchard.' Thereupon the servant replied: 'If you have come here to eat mangoes, then enjoy them. What will you gain by counting the trees, branches, and leaves?' "
  
  --
  
  They drove on, talking about Sri Ramakrishna's illness and the care that should be taken of him.
  
  --
  
  The conversation turned to other things. Sri Ramakrishna was always experiencing ecstatic moods, which the doctor said might aggravate his illness. Dr. Sarkar said to him: "You must suppress your emotion. My feelings, too, are greatly stirred up. I can dance much more than you."
  
  --
  
  Pointing to Dr. Sarkar, Sri Ramakrishna said to the devotees, with a smile: "When a thing is boiled, it becomes soft. At first he was very hard. Now he is softening from inside."
  
  --
  
  Dr. Sarkar was about to take his leave. He was talking to Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  It was dusk. Sri Ramakrishna became absorbed in contemplation of God. For the time being he forgot all about his painful disease. Several intimate disciples sat near him and looked at him intently. After a long time he became aware of the outer world and said to M. in a whisper: "You see, my mind was completely merged in the Indivisible Brahman.
  
  --
  
  Shyam Basu, Dr. Dukari, and a few other devotees arrived. Sri Ramakrishna talked to them.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was pleased with Shyam Basu. He was quite an elderly person and wanted to devote his time to contemplation. This was his second visit to the Master.
  
  --
  
  The assurance of Sri Ramakrishna that no sin can touch a man if he gives up his body while praying to God was deeply impressed on their minds.
  
  --
  
  It was nine o'clock in the morning. Sri Ramakrishna was talking with M. in his room. No one else was present. M. was going to Dr. Sarkar to report his condition and bring him to examine the Master.
  
  --
  
  Purna was then fifteen or sixteen years old. Sri Ramakrishna always longed to see him.
  
  But his relatives did not allow him to visit the Master. One night, before his illness, Sri Ramakrishna had been so eager to see Purna that he had suddenly left Dakshineswar and arrived at M.'s house in Calcutta. M. had brought Purna from his home to see Sri Ramakrishna. The Master had given the boy many instructions about prayer and had afterwards returned to Dakshineswar. Manindra was about the same age as Purna. The devotees addressed him as "khoka". He used to dance in ecstasy when he heard the chanting of God's name.
  
  --
  
  Pratap had visited Sri Ramakrishna the previous day. They soon arrived at Syampukur.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room, on the second floor, with several devotees.
  
  --
  
  Pratap was Dr. Bhaduri's son-in-law. Sri Ramakrishna was speaking to Pratap in praise of his father-in-law.
  
  --
  
  M. was very eager to mention Dr. Bhaduri's remarks about Dr. Sarkar's being born again as a stone or brick-bat. He asked the younger Naren very softly whether he remembered those remarks of Dr. Bhaduri. Sri Ramakrishna overheard this.
  
  --
  
  Suddenly Sri Ramakrishna went into a spiritual mood and said to Dr. Sarkar: "Mahindra Babu, what is this madness of yours about money? Why such attachment to wife? Why such longing for name and fame? Give up all these, now, and direct your mind to God with whole-souled devotion. Enjoy the Bliss of God."
  
  --
  
  Dr. Sarkar stood up. He was about to take his leave. Sri Ramakrishna also stood up.
  
  --
  
  Dr. Sarkar left. M. sat near Sri Ramakrishna and repeated the conversation he had had at Dr. Sarkar's house.
  
  --
  
  M. was seated very near Sri Ramakrishna, Now and then they exchanged a word or two in a low voice. The Master wanted to put on his coat. M. helped him.
  
  --
  
  Presently Sri Ramakrishna spoke.
  
  --
  
  M. became silent. The room was still. A few minutes later Sri Ramakrishna spoke to M. in a whisper.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was thinking about the welfare of his devotees. Purna and Manindra were two of his young devotees. He sent Manindra to talk to Purna.
  
  It was evening. A lamp was burning in Sri Ramakrishna's room. The devotees and visitors were sitting at a distance. The Master was introspective. Those in the room were also thinking of God and sat in silence.
  
  A few minutes afterwards Narendra entered the room with a friend, whom he introduced to the Master as an author. Sri Ramakrishna talked with him about the metaphysical significance of Radha and Krishna. The author said that Radha and Krishna were the Supreme Brahman. Vishnu, iva, Durga, and the other deities had sprung from them.
  
  --
  
  Hariballav Bose, a cousin of Balarm, came to see Sri Ramakrishna. He saluted the Master respectfully.
  
  --
  
  Hariballav was about to depart. He saluted Sri Ramakrishna and was going to take the dust of the Master's feet, when Sri Ramakrishna moved his feet away. But Hariballav persisted; he took the dust of Sri Ramakrishna's feet against the latter's wish.
  
  --
  
  M. went to Dr.Sarkar's house to report Sri Ramakrishna's condition. The doctor talked to M. about Sri Ramakrishna, Mahimacharan, and the other devotees.
  
  --
  
  M. explains Master's conceptions of jnna and bhakti M: "Why, the Master says that bhakti comes after jnna. But his conception of jnna and bhakti is quite different from yours. When he says that one obtains bhakti after jnna, he means that first comes the Knowledge of Reality and then bhakti; first the Knowledge of Brahman and then bhakti; first the Knowledge of God and then love for Him. When you speak of jnna you mean the knowledge obtained through the senses. The jnna Sri Ramakrishna speaks of cannot be verified by our standards. The Knowledge of Reality cannot be tested by the knowledge obtained through the senses. But your jnna, the knowledge through the senses, can be verified."
  
  --
  
  "Sri Ramakrishna says that there is a greater manifestation of God in certain things than in others, as the sun is reflected better by water and by a mirror than by other objects.
  
  --
  
  "God cannot be known through reasoning. All depends on faith. Of course, I am repeating to you what Sri Ramakrishna says."
  
  --
  
  It was about eleven o'clock in the morning. Sri Ramakrishna was sitting in his room with the devotees. He was talking to a Christian devotee named Misra. Misra was born of a Christian family in northwestern India and belonged to the Quaker sect. He was thirty-five years old. Though clad in European dress he wore the ochre cloth of a sannysi under his foreign clothes. Two of his brothers had died on the day fixed for the marriage of one of them, and on that very day Misra had renounced the world.
  
  --
  
  MISRA: "Jesus is not the son of Mary. He is God Himself. (To the devotees) Now he (pointing to Sri Ramakrishna) is as you see him-again, he is God Himself. You are not able to recognize him. I have seen him before, in visions, though I see him now directly with my eyes. I saw a garden where he was seated on a raised seat. Another person was seated on the ground, but he was not so far advanced.
  
  "There are four door-keepers of God in this country: Tukaram in Bombay, Robert Michael in Kashmir, himself [meaning Sri Ramakrishna] in this part of the country, and another person in eastern Bengal."
  
  --
  
  Presently Sri Ramakrishna went out on the porch. Returning to the room, he said to the devotees, "I saw him [meaning Misra] standing in a heroic posture." As he uttered these words he went into samdhi. He stood facing the west.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was laughing, still in an ecstatic mood.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna asked the devotees to take care of Misra.
  
  Dr.Sarkar arrived. At the sight of him Sri Ramakrishna went into samdhi. When his ecstasy abated a little, he said, "First the bliss of divine inebriation and then the Bliss of Satchidananda, the Cause of the cause."
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna smiled and said:
  
  --
  
  As the doctor listened to the words, he too became almost ecstatic. Sri Ramakrishna again went into a deep spiritual mood and placed his foot on the doctor's lap. A few minutes later he became conscious of the outer world and withdrew his foot. He said to the doctor: "Ah, what a splendid thing you said the other day! 'We lie in the lap of God.
  
  To whom shall we speak about our illness if not to Him?' If I must pray, I shall certainly pray to Him." As Sri Ramakrishna said these words, his eyes filled with tears. Again he went into ecstasy and said to the doctor, "You are very pure; otherwise I could not have put my foot on your lap." Continuing, he said: "'He alone has peace who has tasted the Bliss of Rma.' What is this world? What is there in it? What is there in money, wealth, honour, or creature comforts? 'O mind, know Rma! Whom else should you know?' "
  
  --
  
  At the sight of the doctor's joy, Sri Ramakrishna said: "The son said to the father, 'Father, you taste a little wine, and after that, if you ask me to give up drinking, I shall do so.' After drinking the wine, the father said: 'Son, you may give it up. I have no objection. But I am certainly not going to give it up myself!' (The doctor and the others laugh.)
  
  --
  
  It was the day of the Kli Puja, the worship of the Divine Mother, Sri Ramakrishna's Chosen Ideal. At about nine o'clock in the morning the Master, clad in a new cloth, stood in the south room on the second floor of his temporary residence at Syampukur. He had asked M. to offer worship to Siddhesvari at Thanthania, in the central part of Calcutta, with flowers, green coconut, sugar, and other sweets. After bathing in the Ganges, M.
  
  had offered the worship and come barefoot to Syampukur. He had brought the Prasad with him. Sri Ramakrishna took off his shoes and with great reverence ate a little of the Prasad and placed a little on his head.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was pacing the room with M. He had put on his slippers. In spite of his painful illness his face beamed with joy.
  
  --
  
  Suddenly Sri Ramakrishna gave a start. He put aside his slippers and stood still. He was in deep samdhi. It was the day of the Divine Mother's worship. Was that why he frequently went into samdhi? After a long while he sighed and restrained his emotion as if with great difficulty.
  
  It was about ten o'clock. Sri Ramakrishna was seated on his bed, leaning against the pillow. The devotees sat around him. Ram, Rkhl, Niranjan, Kalipada, M., and many others were present. Sri Ramakrishna was talking about his nephew Hriday.
  
  --
  
  After a time the devotees went to another room. Sri Ramakrishna sent for R-and said to him, "Did you mind what I said?"
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna said to M.: "It is the day of the Kli Puja. It is good to make some arrangements for the worship. Please speak to the devotees about it."
  
  --
  
  The doctor listened to the report of the illness and prescribed medicine. Sri Ramakrishna said to him, "These two books have been purchased for you." M. handed him the books.
  
  --
  
  Hariballav arrived. Sri Ramakrishna said, "I feel very happy when I see you." Hariballav was a man of very humble nature; he sat on the bare floor and not on the mat. He began to fan the Master. He was the government lawyer at Cuttack. Professor Nilmani sat near them. Sri Ramakrishna did not want to offend him; casting his glance on the professor, he said, "Oh, what a grand day it is for me!"
  
  --
  
  It is the dark night of the new moon. At seven o'clock the devotees make arrangements for the worship of Kli in Sri Ramakrishna's room on the second floor. Flowers, sandal-paste, vilwa-leaves, red hibiscus, rice pudding, and various sweets and other articles of worship are placed in front of the Master. The devotees are sitting around him. There are present, among others, Sarat, ai, Ram, Girish, Chunilal, M., Rkhl, Niranjan, and the younger Naren.
  
  Sri Ramakrishna asks a devotee to bring some incense. A few minutes later he offers all the articles to the Divine Mother. M. is seated close to him. Looking at M., he says to the devotees, "Meditate a little." The devotees close their eyes.
  
  Presently Girish offers a garland of flowers at Sri Ramakrishna's feet. M. offers flowers and sandal-paste. Rkhl, Ram, and the other devotees follow him.
  
  Niranjan offers a flower at Sri Ramakrishna's feet, crying: "Brahmamayi! Brahmamayi!"
  
  --
  
  Manifestation of the Divine Mother through the Master In the twinkling of an eye Sri Ramakrishna goes into deep samdhi. An amazing transformation takes place in the Master before the very eyes of the devotees. His face shines with a heavenly light. His two hands are raised in the posture of granting boons and giving assurance to the devotees; it is the posture one sees in images of the Divine Mother. His body is motionless; he has no consciousness of the outer world. He sits facing the north. Is the Divine Mother of the Universe manifesting Herself through his person? Speechless with wonder, the devotees look intently at Sri Ramakrishna, who appears to them to be the embodiment of the Divine Mother Herself.
  
  --
  
  Gradually Sri Ramakrishna came back to the consciousness of the outer world. He asked the devotees to sing "O Mother Syama, full of the waves of drunkenness divine". They sang:
  
  --
  
  When this song was over, Sri Ramakrishna asked the devotees to sing "Behold my Mother playing with iva". The devotees sang: Behold my Mother playing with iva, lost in an ecstasy of joy!
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna tasted a little Pudding to make the devotees happy, but immediately went into deep ecstasy.
  
  --
  
  It was nine o'clock in the evening. Sri Ramakrishna sent word to the devotees, asking them to go to Surendra's house to participate in the worship of Kli.
  

Evening_Talks_With_Sri_Aurobindo, #Talks With Sri Aurobindo, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  
  Disciple: It is said that Sri Ramakrishnas body had a glow which he used to hide from men by covering his body. Can one say it was inner beauty?
  

Gospel_of_Sri_Ramakrishna_preface, #Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, #Sri Ramakrishna, #Hinduism
  object:Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna preface
  author class:Sri Ramakrishna
  class:book
  --
  
  THE GOSPEL OF Sri Ramakrishna
  
  "SRI Sri Ramakrishna KATHAMRITA"
  
  --
  
  But, all doctrinal writing is in some measure formal and impersonal, while the autobiographer tends to omit what he regards as trifling matters and suffers from the further disadvantage of being unable to say how he strikes other people and in what way he affects their lives. Moreover, most saints have left neither writings nor self-portraits, and for knowledge of their lives, their characters and their teachings, we are forced to rely upon the records made by their disciples who, in most cases, have proved themselves singularly incompetent as reporters and biographers. Hence the special interest attaching to this enormously detailed account of the daily life and conversations of Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  "M", as the author modestly styles himself, was peculiarly qualified for his task. To a reverent love for his master, to a deep and experiential knowledge of that master's teaching, he added a prodigious memory for the small happenings of each day and a happy gift for recording them in an interesting and realistic way. Making good use of his natural gifts and of the circumstances in which he found himself, "M" produced a book unique, so far as my knowledge goes, in the literature of hagiography. No other saint has had so able and indefatigable a Boswell. Never have the small events of a contemplative's daily life been described with such a wealth of intimate detail. Never have the casual and unstudied utterances of a great religious teacher been set down with so minute a fidelity. To Western readers, it is true, this fidelity and this wealth of detail are sometimes a trifle disconcerting; for the social, religious and intellectual frames of reference within which Sri Ramakrishna did his thinking and expressed his feelings were entirely Indian. But after the first few surprises and bewilderments, we begin to find something peculiarly stimulating and instructive about the very strangeness and, to our eyes, the eccentricity of the man revealed to us in "M's" narrative. What a scholastic philosopher would call the "accidents" of Ramakrishna's life were intensely Hindu and therefore, so far as we in the West are concerned, unfamiliar and hard to understand; its "essence", however, was intensely mystical and therefore universal. To read through these conversations in which mystical doctrine alternates with an unfamiliar kind of humour, and where discussions of the oddest aspects of Hindu mythology give place to the most profound and subtle utterances about the nature of Ultimate Reality, is in itself a liberal, education in humility, tolerance and suspense of judgment. We must be grateful to the translator for his excellent version of a book so curious and delightful as a biographical document, so precious, at the same time, for what it teaches us of the life of the spirit.
  
  --
  
  The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna is the English translation of the Sri Sri Rmakrishna Kathmrita, the conversations of Sri Ramakrishna with his disciples, devotees, and visitors, recorded by Mahendranth Gupta, who wrote the book under the pseudonym of "M." The conversations in Bengali fill five volumes, the first of which was published in 1897 and the last shortly after M.'s death in 1932. Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras, has published in two volumes an English translation of selected chapters from the monumental Bengali work. I have consulted these while preparing my translation.
  
  M., one of the intimate disciples of Sri Ramakrishna, was present during all the conversations recorded in the main body of the book and noted them down in his diary.
  
  --
  
  I have made a literal translation, omitting only a few pages of no particular interest to English-speaking readers. Often literary grace has been sacrificed for the sake of literal translation. No translation can do full justice to the original. This difficulty is all the more felt in the present work, whose contents are of a deep mystical nature and describe the inner experiences of a great seer. Human language is an altogether inadequate vehicle to express supersensuous perception. Sri Ramakrishna was almost illiterate. He never clothed his thoughts in formal language. His words sought to convey his direct realization of Truth. His conversation was in a village patois. Therein lies its charm. In order to explain to his listeners an abstruse philosophy, he, like Christ before him, used with telling effect homely parables and illustrations, culled from his observation of the daily life around him.
  
  The reader will find mentioned in this work many visions and experiences that fall outside the ken of physical science and even psychology. With the development of modern knowledge the border line between the natural and the supernatural is ever shifting its position. Genuine mystical experiences are not as suspect now as they were half a century ago. The words of Sri Ramakrishna have already exerted a tremendous influence in the land of his birth. Savants of Europe have found in his words the ring of universal truth.
  
  But these words were not the product of intellectual cogitation; they were rooted in direct experience. Hence, to students of religion, psychology, and physical science, these experiences of the Master are of immense value for the understanding of religious phenomena in general. No doubt Sri Ramakrishna was a Hindu of the Hindus; yet his experiences transcended the limits of the dogmas and creeds of Hinduism. Mystics of religions other than Hinduism will find in Sri Ramakrishna's experiences a corroboration of the experiences of their own prophets and seers. And this is very important today for the resuscitation of religious values. The sceptical reader may pass by the supernatural experiences; he will yet find in the book enough material to provoke his serious thought and solve many of his spiritual problems.
  
  --
  
  I have thought it necessary to write a rather lengthy Introduction to the book. In it I have given the biography of the Master, descriptions of people who came in contact with him, short explanations of several systems of Indian religious thought intimately connected with Sri Ramakrishna's life, and other relevant matters which, I hope, will enable the reader better to understand and appreciate the unusual contents of this book. It is particularly important that the Western reader, unacquainted with Hindu religious thought, should first read carefully the introductory chapter, in order that he may fully enjoy these conversations. Many Indian terms and names have been retained in the book for want of suitable English equivalents. Their meaning is given either in the Glossary or in the foot-notes. The Glossary also gives explanations of a number of expressions unfamiliar to Western readers. The diacritical marks are explained under Notes on Pronunciation.
  
  In the Introduction I have drawn much material from the Life of Sri Ramakrishna, published by the Advaita Ashrama, Myvati, India. I have also consulted the excellent article on Sri Ramakrishna by Swami Nirvednanda, in the second volume of the Cultural Heritage of India.
  
  --
  
  In the spiritual firmament Sri Ramakrishna is a waxing crescent. Within one hundred years of his birth and fifty years of his death his message has spread across land and sea. Romain Rolland has described him as the fulfilment of the spiritual aspirations of the three hundred millions of Hindus for the last two thousand years. Mahatma Gandhi has written: "His life enables us to see God face to face. . . . Ramakrishna was a living embodiment of godliness." He is being recognized as a compeer of Krishna, Buddha, and Christ.
  
  The life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna have redirected the thoughts of the denationalized Hindus to the spiritual ideals of their forefathers. During the latter part of the nineteenth century his was the time-honoured role of the Saviour of the Eternal Religion of the Hindus. His teachings played an important part in liberalizing the minds of orthodox pundits and hermits. Even now he is the silent force that is moulding the spiritual destiny of India. His great disciple, Swami Vivekananda, was the first Hindu missionary to preach the message of Indian culture to the enlightened minds of Europe and America. The full consequence of Swami Viveknand work is still in the womb of the future.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna's Birthday
  
  --
  
  In the life of the great Saviours and Prophets of the world it is often found that they are accompanied by souls of high spiritual potency who play a conspicuous part in the furtherance of their Master's mission. They become so integral a part of the life and work of these great ones that posterity can think of them only in mutual association. Such is the case with Sri Ramakrishna and M., whose diary has come to be known to the world as the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna in English and as Sri Rmakrishna Kathmrita in the original Bengali version.
  
  --
  
  Imparting secular education was, however, only his profession ; his main concern was with the spiritual regeneration of man a calling for which Destiny seems to have chosen him. From his childhood he was deeply pious, and he used to be moved very much by Sdhus, temples and Durga Puja celebrations. The piety and eloquence of the great Brahmo leader of the times, Keshab Chander Sen, elicited a powerful response from the impressionable mind of Mahendra Nath, as it did in the case of many an idealistic young man of Calcutta, and prepared him to receive the great Light that was to dawn on him with the coming of Sri Ramakrishna into his life.
  
  
  This epoch-making event of his life came about in a very strange way. M. belonged to a joint family with several collateral members. Some ten years after he began his career as an educationist, bitter quarrels broke out among the members of the family, driving the sensitive M. to despair and utter despondency. He lost all interest in life and left home one night to go into the wide world with the idea of ending his life. At dead of night he took rest in his sister's house at Baranagar, and in the morning, accompanied by a nephew Siddheswar, he wandered from one garden to another in Calcutta until Siddheswar brought him to the Temple Garden of Dakshineswar where Sri Ramakrishna was then living. After spending some time in the beautiful rose gardens there, he was directed to the room of the Paramahamsa, where the eventful meeting of the Master and the disciple took place on a blessed evening (the exact date is not on record) on a Sunday in March 1882. As regards what took place on the occasion, the reader is referred to the opening section of the first chapter of the Gospel.
  
  --
  
  From the mental depression of the modem Vysa, the world has obtained the Kathmrita (Bengali Edition) the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna in English.
  
  
  Sri Ramakrishna was a teacher for both the Orders of mankind, Sannysins and householders. His own life offered an ideal example for both, and he left behind disciples who followed the highest traditions he had set in respect of both these ways of life. M., along with Nag Mahashay, exemplified how a householder can rise to the highest level of sagehood. M. was married to Nikunja Devi, a distant relative of Keshab Chander Sen, even when he was reading at College, and he had four children, two sons and two daughters. The responsibility of the family, no doubt, made him dependent on his professional income, but the great devotee that he was, he never compromised with ideals and principles for this reason. Once when he was working as the headmaster in a school managed by the great Vidysgar, the results of the school at the public examination happened to be rather poor, and Vidysgar attributed it to M's preoccupation with the Master and his consequent failure to attend adequately to the school work. M. at once resigned his post without any thought of the morrow. Within a fortnight the family was in poverty, and M. was one day pacing up and down the verandah of his house, musing how he would feed his children the next day. Just then a man came with a letter addressed to 'Mahendra Babu', and on opening it, M. found that it was a letter from his friend Sri Surendra Nath Banerjee, asking whether he would like to take up a professorship in the Ripon College. In this way three or four times he gave up the job that gave him the wherewithal to support the family, either for upholding principles or for practising spiritual Sadhanas in holy places, without any consideration of the possible dire worldly consequences; but he was always able to get over these difficulties somehow, and the interests of his family never suffered. In spite of his disregard for worldly goods, he was, towards the latter part of his life, in a fairly flourishing condition as the proprietor of the Morton School which he developed into a noted educational institution in the city. The Lord has said in the Bhagavad Git that in the case of those who think of nothing except Him, He Himself would take up all their material and spiritual responsibilities. M. was an example of the truth of the Lord's promise.
  
  --
  
  The life of Sdhan and holy association that he started on at the feet of the Master, he continued all through his life. He has for this reason been most appropriately described as a Grihastha-Sannysi (householder-Sannysin). Though he was forbidden by the Master to become a Sannysin, his reverence for the Sannysa ideal was whole-hearted and was without any reservation. So after Sri Ramakrishna's passing away, while several of the Master's householder devotees considered the young Sannysin disciples of the Master as inexperienced and inconsequential, M. stood by them with the firm faith that the Master's life and message were going to be perpetuated only through them. Swami Vivekananda wrote from America in a letter to the inmates of the Math: "When Sri Thkur (Master) left the body, every one gave us up as a few unripe urchins. But M. and a few others did not leave us in the lurch. We cannot repay our debt to them." (Swami Raghavananda's article on M. in Prabuddha Bharata vol. XXX P. 442.)
  
  --
  
  After the Master's demise, M. went on pilgrimage several times. He visited Banras, Vrindvan, Ayodhy and other places. At Banras he visited the famous Trailinga Swmi and fed him with sweets, and he had long conversations with Swami Bhaskarananda, one of the noted saintly and scholarly Sannysins of the time. In 1912 he went with the Holy Mother to Banras, and spent about a year in the company of Sannysins at Banras, Vrindvan, Hardwar, Hrishikesh and Swargashram. But he returned to Calcutta, as that city offered him the unique opportunity of associating himself with the places hallowed by the Master in his lifetime. Afterwards he does not seem to have gone to any far-off place, but stayed on in his room in the Morton School carrying on his spiritual ministry, speaking on the Master and his teachings to the large number of people who flocked to him after having read his famous Kathmrita known to English readers as The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.
  
  --
  
  While many educated people heard Sri Ramakrishna's talks, it was given to this illustrious personage alone to leave a graphic and exact account of them for posterity, with details like date, hour, place, names and particulars about participants. Humanity owes this great book to the ingrained habit of diary-keeping with which M. was endowed.
  
  --
  
  In addition to this instinct for diary-keeping, M. had great endowments contributing to success in this line. Writes Swami Nityatmananda who lived in close association with M., in his book entitled M - The Apostle and Evangelist: "M.'s prodigious memory combined with his extraordinary power of imagination completely annihilated the distance of time and place for him. Even after the lapse of half a century he could always visualise vividly, scenes from the life of Sri Ramakrishna. Superb too was his power to portray pictures by words."
  
  --
  
  The two pamphlets in English entitled the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna appeared in October and November 1897. They drew the spontaneous acclamation of Swami Vivekananda, who wrote on 24th November of that year from Dehra Dun to M.:"Many many thanks for your second leaflet. It is indeed wonderful. The move is quite original, and never was the life of a Great Teacher brought before the public untarnished by the writer's mind, as you are doing. The language also is beyond all praise, so fresh, so pointed, and withal so plain and easy. I cannot express in adequate terms how I have enjoyed them. I am really in a transport when I read them. Strange, isn't it? Our Teacher and Lord was so original, and each one of us will have to be original or nothing.
  
  --
  
  M. was, in every respect, a true missionary of Sri Ramakrishna right from his first acquaintance with him in 1882. As a school teacher, it was a practice with him to direct to the Master such of his students as had a true spiritual disposition. Though himself prohibited by the Master to take to monastic life, he encouraged all spiritually inclined young men he came across in his later life to join the monastic Order. Swami Vijnanananda, a direct Sannysin disciple of the Master and a President of the Ramakrishna Order, once remarked to M.: "By enquiry, I have come to the conclusion that eighty percent and more of the Sannysins have embraced the monastic life after reading the Kathmrita (Bengali name of the book) and coming in contact with you." ( M
  
  --
  
  In appearance, M. looked a Vedic Rishi. Tall and stately in bearing, he had a strong and well-built body, an unusually broad chest, high forehead and arms extending to the knees. His complexion was fair and his prominent eyes were always tinged with the expression of the divine love that filled his heart. Adorned with a silvery beard that flowed luxuriantly down his chest, and a shining face radiating the serenity and gravity of holiness, M. was as imposing and majestic as he was handsome and engaging in appearance. Humorous, sweet-tongued and eloquent when situations required, this great Maharishi of our age lived only to sing the glory of Sri Ramakrishna day and night.
  
  Though a very well versed scholar in the Upanishads, Git and the philosophies of the East and the West, all his discussions and teachings found their culmination in the life and the message of Sri Ramakrishna, in which he found the real explanation and illustration of all the scriptures. Both consciously and unconsciously, he was the teacher of the Kathmrita the nectarine words of the Great Master.
  
  
  Though a much-sought-after spiritual guide, an educationist of repute, and a contemporary and close associate of illustrious personages like Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Keshab Chander Sen and Iswar Chander Vidysgar, he was always moved by the noble humanity of a lover of God, which consists in respecting the personalities of all as receptacles of the Divine Spirit. So he taught without the consciousness of a teacher, and no bar of superiority stood in the way of his doing the humblest service to his students and devotees. "He was a commission of love," writes his close devotee, Swami Raghavananda, "and yet his soft and sweet words would pierce the stoniest heart, make the worldly-minded weep and repent and turn Godwards."
  
  --
  
  About twenty-seven years of his life he spent in this way in the heart of the great city of Calcutta, radiating the Master's thoughts and ideals to countless devotees who flocked to him, and to still larger numbers who read his Kathmrita (English Edition : The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna), the last part of which he had completed before June 1932 and given to the press. And miraculously, as it were, his end also came immediately after he had completed his life's mission. About three months earlier he had come to stay at his home at 13/2 Gurdasprasad Chaudhuary Lane at Thakur Bari, where the Holy Mother had herself installed the Master and where His regular worship was being conducted for the previous 40 years. The night of 3rd June being the Phalahrini Kli Pooja day, M.
  
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras
  

Sayings_of_Sri_Ramakrishna_(text), #Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna, #Sri Ramakrishna, #Hinduism
  object:Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna (text)
  object:TSOSR
  author class:Sri Ramakrishna
  author:Sri Ramakrishna
  class:book
  --
  
  Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  Prepared by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj
  --
  
  The sayings and parables of Sri Ramakrishna included in this volume speak for themselves as far as their
  spiritual value and philosophic depth are concerned. The stamp of genius they bear cannot escape the
  --
  ordinary man, as far as these subjects of transcendental significance are concerned. The sayings of Sri
  Ramakrishna stand on quite a different footing in this respect, because Sri Ramakrishna possessed not
  only a great intellect and an artistic mind, but had the additional qualification that he had 'seen God face
  --
  acquainted with this unique aspect of his life and teachings.
  2 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  II
  Sri Ramakrishna was born in a poor Brahmana family of the village, called Kamarpukur in Bengal, on the
  18th February, 1836. His father Khudiram Chatterjee was a man of great piety and uprightness of
  --
  Ramakrishna, indicative of the divinity of their Gadadhar, as they called their son in his early days.
  From his infancy Sri Ramakrishna showed signs of the great power of personality that became a
  distinguishing feature of his in later life. As a boy he could easily fascinate people, and become the
  --
  was this devotional strain that ultimately dominated the leader, the artist and the rebel in him, and
  4 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  organized the diverse qualities of his personality in the service of the supreme spiritual ideal, the
  --
  III
  The proper environment for the full development of Sri Ramakrishna's personality was provided by the
  Kali temple of Dakshineswar in Calcutta, founded by the Rani Rasmani in 1855. The daily round of pious
  --
  Mathuranath, the Manager of the temple and son-in-law of Rani Rasmani, who had by this time
  developed great affection and respect for Sri Ramakrishna, relieved him of his duties in the temple, and
  gave him every facility to pursue his spiritual inclinations. And Sri Ramakrishna utilized this opportunity
  to plunge himself into prayer, meditation and ascetic practices with an intensity of spiritual aspiration
  --
  days, it did not have the intended effect of abating his zeal for God. For, immediately after his return to
  Dak6 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  shineswar in 1860, his soul was again caught in the same cyclonic passion for God-love.
  --
  scriptures.
  There are two outstanding features that distinguish Sri Ramakrishna from other spiritual aspirants in this
  aspect of his life. One is the rapidity with which he attained success in each Sadhaha (spiritual practice),
  --
  underwent, which is unprecedented in the spiritual history of mankind.
  The first of his teachers to arrive was the Bhairavi Brahmani, who met Sri Ramakrishna in 1861 (Born
  18th February, 1836). She was a middle-aged Brahmana woman of great learning and high spiritual
  --
  every woman is a manifesta- tion and a symbol of the Divine Mother in a special sense.
  The Vaishnava form of Sadhana was another type of spiritual discipline that Sri Ramakrishna practiced.
  The Vaishnavas worship the Deity by cultivating various forms of personal
  --
  (Dasya), of the friend towards a friend (Sakhya), of the parent towards the child (Vatsalya), and of the
  beloved towards her sweet-heart (Madhura). Sri Ramakrishna adopted all these attitudes one after
  another, and while doing so, he used to identify himself with the classical personalities with whom a
  --
  Next in 1864 (Born 18th February, 1836) he came into contact with a great Vedantin of the non-dualistic
  school, an itinerant monk named Totapuri. Sri Ramakrishna was initiated by him into the life of
  Sannyasa. Till now he was worshipping the Deity as the Divine Personality endowed with attributes,
  --
  Advaita scriptures speak of as the goal of all the spiritual endeavors of man. And after Totapuri had left
  Dakshineswar at the close of nearly a year's stay in the temple, Sri Ramakrishna remained in the nondual state of Nirvikalpa-samadhi continuously for six months.
  In 1866 (Born 18th February, 1836) he received initiation in Islamic spiritual practices from a Sufi ascetic
  named Govinda, and discovered that that
  8 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  path also ultimately led to the same spiritual realization which the Hindu systems of spiritual discipline
  --
  also to be identical with that of the other religions.
  The long period of Sri Ramakrishna's spiritual practices came to a close in 1872 (Born 18th February,
  1836) with the inspiring rite known as the Shodasi Pooja when he worshipped his own wedded wife as
  --
  Dakshineswar, anxious as she was to serve her husband whom the village gossip described as mad.
  Quite unlike an ordinary ascetic, Sri Ramakrishna received her kindly, and did everything to educate her
  in secular and spiritual matters. Her presence at Dakshineswar also helped him to test his own
  --
  IV
  The Shodasi Pooja is supposed to mark the close of Sri Ramakrishna's life as an aspirant (Sadhakabhava),
  and herald the period of his spiritual ministration as the world-teacher (Gurubhava). After this time his
  --
  world-teacher.
  10 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  Sri Ramakrishna was now a Divya, a divine man. His awareness of God had become perpetual, and did
  not depend on any particular state of mind like ecstasy, although the phenomenon of ecstasy continued
  --
  From among the many earnest souls who went to him, a good many became very intimate with him,
  and formed the group of his devotees through whom his message was des12 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  tined to be transmitted to the world at large in later days. This group was formed of two sets of peopleone, of elderly, married gentlemen settled down In life, and the other, of young school and college boy
  --
  lasting impression on the consciousness of his countrymen as the great patriot saint of modern India.
  The rest of Sri Ramakrishna's life was spent in teaching these devotees and in molding their lives in the
  light of the highest spiritual ideal. The manner and method of his teaching, as well as his relationship
  --
  Mahendra Lal Sarkar and a Girish
  14 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  Chandra Ghosh. As in the practice of diverse religions with mutually conflicting traditions, here too the
  --
  required for his personal use, and he advised his disciples never to go to a
  16 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  place at a time or in a manner that might cause inconvenience to their host. It is also remarkable that
  --
  ideal.
  In spite of his physical illness, Sri Ramakrishna was like a living spiritual dynamo during this period. He
  blessed many of his devotees with higher experiences, Especially on the l st of January, 1886, he was in a
  --
  VI
  What did Sri Ramakrishna teach? Evidently he taught more by his life than by words. He never wrote or
  lectured, but imparted all his teachings in the shape of informal conversations, some of which have been
  --
  summary, consisting, as it does, of all the precious
  18 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  instructions lying scattered in a voluminous literature. Being a collection of extracts from various
  --
  sin. Faith is the source of all strength-faith in God and faith in oneself. Self-depreciation, or morbidly
  dwelling upon one's essential sin20 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  fulness, is no part of true religion, and should, by all means, be avoided; for sin is not overcome by
  --
  and Avidya, the leaning towards worldliness and bondage. At his birth,
  24 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  both these tendencies are, as it were, in equilibrium like the two scales of a balance. The world soon
  --
  but as soon as their mother comes in, they throw aside their dolls
  26 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  and run to her crying, "Mamma, mamma". You too, -O man, are now playing in this material world,
  --
  22. Water and a bubble on it are one and the same. The bubble has its birth in the water, floats on it,
  and is ulti28 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  mately resolved into it. So also the Jivatman and the Paramatman are one and the same, the difference
  --
  themselves, while a third
  30 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  class of fish somehow managed to force their way out of the net. In the world, men too are thus of three
  --
  one's mind even at the last hour.
  32 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  
  --
  whole world.
  34 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  Maya all the Deluding Power (Avidya)
  --
  expressions of Vidya Maya; only with their help can one reach God.
  36 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  63. It is Maya which reveals Brahman. Without Maya, who could have known Brahman? Without
  --
  mind."[76]-Wikipedia
  38 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  71. If pitchers of ice-cold water and bottles of savory sauce are placed near a man who is suffering from
  --
  deviate from the path of devotion.
  72. Once a Marwari gentleman, approached Sri Ramakrishna and said, "How is it, Sir, that I do not see
  God, although I have renounced everything?"
  --
  Self is gained after the development of this Medha nerve.
  40 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  SO. The mind steeped in affection for 'woman and gold' is like the green betel-nut. So long as the betelnut is green, its kernel remains adhering to its shell, but when it dries up, shell and nut are separated,
  --
  
  85. A disciple once asked Sri Ramakrishna how he was to conquer lust; for though he was passing his
  days in religious contemplation, evil thoughts were arising in his mind from time to time. To him the
  --
  man of realization is immune from the dangers of worldly life).
  89. One day a Marwari gentleman went to Sri Ramakrishna and asked him for permission to present him
  with some thousands of rupees. But the Master had nothing but a stem refusal for this well-meant offer.
  He said, "I shall have nothing to do with your money; for if I accept it, my mind would always be dwelling
  on it." The gentleman then proposed to invest the amount in the name of one of Sri Ramakrishna's
  relatives to be used by him for the Master's service. To this the Master replied, "No, it would be doubledealing. Moreover, it would always be in my mind that I am keeping my money with so-and-so."
  But the Marwari still persisted in his proposal, quoting one of Sri Ramakrishna's own sayings, "If the
  mind is like oil, it will float even upon an ocean of 'woman and gold.'
  --
  
  46 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  A. Man's ego itself is Maya. It is the veil that shuts out the Light. Verily, with the death of the 'I' all
  --
  Barrenness of Mere Book Learning
  137. One day the late Keshab Chandra Sen came to Sri Ramakrishna in the temple of Dakshineswar and
  asked him, "How is it that even learned people remain so profoundly ignorant of things that truly matter
  --
  the use of crying aloud, "O God, O God!" Regularly practice devotion, and you will see God.
  56 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  147. This knowledge of God comes not to the person who is proud of his learning or wealth. You may
  --
  vivid perception of the mysteries of God.
  58 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  157. Throw an unbaked cake of flour into hot ghee, and it will make a sizzling noise. But the more it is
  --
  them. Whom do you consider to be the wiser of the two?
  60 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  
  --
  milk with mere whey'. Such is the snare that Maya's charm has set for humanity. '
  68 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  192. The new-born calf looks very lively and gay. It runs and frisks about all day long, only stopping
  --
  203. As soft clay easily takes an impression, but not hard
  70 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  stone, so also Divine wisdom impresses itself on the heart of a devotee, but not on a bound soul.
  --
  the same as before.
  74 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  217. Why does the mind become unsteady when engaged in contemplation? The fly sits at times on the
  --
  
  86 Sayings if Sri Ramakrishna
  
  --
  to do hold His feet fast to your heart with both your hands.
  88 . Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  
  --
  from those who ridicule piety and the pious.
  90 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  277. If you first smear your palms with oil and then cut open the jack fruit the milky exudation of the
  --
  The great cyclone of 1864 in Bengal.
  100 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  321. Those who take fish do not want the useless head and tail of the fish, but only the soft middle
  --
  child; do not waste your energies on these petty things."
  382. A disciple once told Sri Ramakrishna that in the course of his meditation he could see things as they
  actually happened at a distance and also added what some people were doing at the time. On
  --
  who are wicked will become godly through their holy contact with you.
  388. Once a student questioned Sri Ramakrishna, "Sir, as the same God dwells in every being, what harm
  is there in accepting food from any and every man's hands?" In reply the Master asked him whether he
  --
  conversation. Placed in the midst of devotees,
  138 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  the mind is sure to meditate on God and God alone. It changes its nature according to the things
  --
  praying to Him, charity, performance of sacrifices-these are the holy works that lead to God.
  Haldarpukur1 A big tank situated just in front of the ancestral house of Sri Ramakrishna in his native
  village, Kamarpukur.
  --
  possible."
  162 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  599. The easiest way of concentrating the mind is to fix it on the flame of a candle. Its inmost blue
  --
  surrounded with a divine atmosphere and his soul communes with God.
  164 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  611. There occurs deep concentration in meditation when nothing else can be seen or heard. Even
  --
  Footnote: This story is not in the Bible and there is nothing in the Bible coming near it. It might be in
  the 'apocrypha', and Sri Ramakrishna might have heard it from somebody acquainted with it.
  Sole Condition of God-Realisation 167
  --
  
  Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Shrine, Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama, Mysore
  
  --
  and others.
  746. A certain Brahmachari (religious aspirant) named Ramachandra one day visited Sri Ramakrishna at
  the temple of Dakshineswar. The aspirant had allowed his hair to grow into long matted tresses after
  the way of ascetics. Having taken his seat, he began to exclaim from time to time, "Sivoham! Sivoham!"
  (I am the Lord Siva !), but was dumb otherwise. Sri Ramakrishna observed him silently for some time and
  then remarked: "What is the good of merely repeating the word 'Sivoham'? It is only when one, by
  --
  mistake, and became wiser by this advice and other similar teachings. Before he left the place, he wrote
  down on the wall of Sri Ramakrishna's room: "Taught by the Swami, from this day forward Ramachandra
  Brahmachari regards the Lord as his Master and himself as His humble servant."
  --
  755. J-'s mother grew old. She thought it was high time that she should retire from the world and spend
  the evening of her life peacefully in Brindavan. She expressed her intention to Sri Ramakrishna. But the
  Master knew the condition of her mind too well to endorse her proposal, and answered as follows: "You
  --
  the famous shrine of Govindaji in Brindavan.
  Brahmani2 The Brahmin lady who initiated Sri Ramakrishna into the Tantrik Sadhana.
  BHAKTI AND JNANA
  --
  him. If you sincerely desire it the Lord will help you, and the bondage of work will gradually fall away.
  822. Sri Ramakrishna once said addressing Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, the great philanthropist of India:
  "Your nature is made of the Sattva i.e., the pure element which leads to illumination or true Knowledge.
  --
  Work as Service Equal to Worship
  824. Sri Ramakrishna was one day expounding the gist of Sri Gauranga's cult in the following words:
  "This faith insists that man should at all times try to cultivate three things-delight in the 'name' of the
  --
  the Governor-General. He is the same 'Captain', only these are his different Upadhis or states.
  'Captain'1 Visvanath Upadhyaya, the Agent of the Nepal Government in Calcutta. Sri Ramakrishna used
  to call him 'Captain'.
  --
  mood.
  929. Once Sri Ramakrishna asked Narendra (Swami Vivekananda) what his ideal in life was. "To remain
  absorbed in Samadhi," replied Narendra. "Can you be so small-minded as that?" the Master said, "Go
  --
  To another he said, "Bhava (divine ecstasy) and Bhakti these are not final."
  930. On another occasion Sri Ramakrishna asked the same question to Narendra, and received the same
  reply as before. To which the Master remarked: "Why! I thought you were made of better stuff. How
  --
  desires have been destroyed as in a dead body.
  943. Sri Ramakrishna once said to Keshab Chandra Sen: "If you advance further, and preach higher and
  higher things, your 'sect' will fall to pieces. In the state of Jnana, forming sects becomes meaninglessfalse as a dream."
  --
  through an unbearable pang of the heart, the
  268 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  next moment I always used to behold the radiant spiritual form of the Mother. I used to see the form
  --
  become aware of the external world. What I had heard from him before, the
  270 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  same teachings I heard from the Brahmani, Totapuri, and others. What I learnt from him before, the
  --
  Experience of Nirvikalpa State
  272 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  984. Describing his experience of Nirvikalpa Samadhi, the Master said: "After the initiation, 'the naked
  --
  obstruction to my mind, which at once soared beyond the relative plane, and I lost myself in Samadhi."
  'the naked one'1 This was the appellation which Sri Ramakrishna, out of respect, invariably used for his
  Guru, who, being a Naga Sannyasin, generally went about naked.
  --
  may run back upward. Again it has to be dragged down through such desires.
  274 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  
  --
  but 'Thou.'
  276 Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna
  995. One is sure to realize God, if only one has great devotion to truth. On the contrary, if one has no
  --
  worldly tendencies prevent us from recognizing true holiness and piety).
  1062. With regard to the priestly class, Sri Ramakrishna used to tell an incident from the life of
  Gauranga. When Sri Gauranga, being wholly self-absorbed in Bhava Samadhi, fell into the ocean, he was
  --
  preserve Keshab's name and reputation.
  Sri Ramakrishna (smiling): Let me tell you a story. A man built a cottage on a mountain top. It cost him
  hard labour and much money. After a few days there came a cyclone and the cottage began to rock to
  --
  sit quiet and say, 'It is all God's will; whatever is done, is done at His will.'
  Sri Ramakrishna: Oh! to what effect, if you simply say
  
  --
  1114. Once there came to Dakshineswar two Sadhus who were father and son. The son had attained
  true Knowledge, but the father had not. Both were sitting in the room where Sri Ramakrishna lived and
  were talking with him. In the meantime, a young cobra came out of a rat-hole and bit the son. Seeing

Talks_026-050, #Talks, #Sri Ramana Maharshi, #Hinduism
    --- Talk 32.
    A visitor: The saints Sri Chaitanya and Sri Ramakrishna wept before
    God and achieved success. Is that not the path to follow?

Talks_125-150, #Talks, #Sri Ramana Maharshi, #Hinduism
  Talk 130.
  Lakshman Brahmachari from Sri Ramakrishna Mission asked:
  Enquiry of Who am I? or of the I-thought being itself a thought, how can it be destroyed in the process?
  --
  Talk 137.
  Lakshman Brahmachari of Sri Ramakrishna Mission asked: Can one imagine oneself as witness of the thoughts?
  M.: It is not the natural state. It is only an idea (bhavana) - an aid to stilling the mind. The Self is ever the witness, whether so imagined or not. There is no need to so imagine except for that purpose. But it is best to remain as ones Self.

Talks_151-175, #Talks, #Sri Ramana Maharshi, #Hinduism
  India apart? Get hold of it and see.
  D.: Sri Ramakrishna prepared Vivekananda. What is the power behind?
  M.: The power is only one in all.